It happened. I have been bitten by the blog bug so now people can finally take a glimpse into the simple and sarcastic world that my brain inhabits. I have given it much thought, about what to write today, and I have finally landed on a theme that I know some people will truly understand.
I am in my 3rd year of teaching middle school science. I absolutely love my profession and I readily enjoy working with my team of teachers and the kids we have. But (and there is always a BUT), I have never worked harder in my entire life to make meaningful lessons and projects, to ensure that I am reaching the most students I possibly can as well as creating applicable assessments. Our planning times are muddied up with meetings, student-parent conferences, training segments and committee obligations. Don’t get me wrong, I fully comprehend the importance of each and every one of these events, but it cuts into the time I feel is needed in order to me to “be” a successful teacher.
Regardless of the time constraints, the weekend planning and the late night grading sessions, I still want to be good at what I do. And honestly, I feel like I am finally becoming a real teacher. Experienced teachers always told me that you really do not start "coming into your own" as an educator until about your 3rd year. I remember brushing that advice off like a gnat at a barbeque, you know, as if I "knew so much with my tail being so short". I have no qualms admitting it now though, Dad - you were right.
Nothing prepares you for your 1st official year. NOTHING. No college degree (and no masters degree for that matter), no student-teaching interning experience and no amount of preparation even comes close to priming yourself for your own classroom with your own kids and your own activities. All of the above mentioned activities are simply warm-ups for what your classroom might be like.
I liken the 2nd year of teaching to your beginning teenage years. You still feel awkward, clumsy and question whether or not you are going to amount to anything, just like at that middle school dance where you wanted to slow dance with an 8th grade boy named Matt but you were too nervous he would say no. You want to be a good teacher and you want your kids to be good students, but there is still something lacking in that final equation: experience.
My 3rd year is coming close to its end and I can vouch that I have finally blossomed into something. Something great? No, not yet. But I will get there, someday. I think another important aspect of teaching is that you must never be completely satisfied, you must never feel like you are the epitome of the perfect educator and you can never stop teaching and learning yourself.
To all of you teachers out there, young or experienced, aspiring or retired…
Thank you and good luck.