I’ve recently found out that when I became a teacher my head was filled with a lot of assumptions about the career of teaching. First was that this path for my life would be more stable than my previous life as a youth minister. That was quickly debunked when my district began laying off teachers during my second year. The next was that teaching “gifted kids” is easier than teaching lower kids. While there are fewer traditional behavior problems, I would say that I have just as much commotion in my classroom now as I ever did before…it’s just a different kind of nonsense. I’m just now getting to the point where my latest assumption is coming to the surface. I thought everyone who teaches was in it for the kids.
Let me back up a few steps before I continue. There are a lot of people in this world who teach and have their kids interests at heart. I appreciate teachers that genuinely want what is best for their students even if it makes them feel uncomfortable and isn’t what is easy all the time. Thank you so much if you are one of these people!
This week has felt like a whirlwind to me because people have been having conversations with me that haven’t normally been had. I’m going to be piloting a new program for our school next year, finishing up a re-evaluation of our G/T program on a district level, been informed that people are excited at the professional development I’ve signed up for this summer, and have been used as an example by multiple people in the district. I’m not saying all these things to brag about the job I’m doing. I truly feel that my teaching career is in its infancy and I need to grow into a better teacher on a yearly basis and I think this is where all the situations above stem from. I feel like most of my peers in the teaching world are fairly set in their ways and would like nothing more than for the district to leave them alone so they could teach in the same tired methods they have in years past. I understand that not every training (and there are a ton of trainings) that I’m told to go to are the most useable content in the world, but must we always prejudge the content of trainer before listening to what they say? For so long we’ve seen new ideas, opinions, and research as a means to “evaluate” us as teachers instead of seeing it as valuable feedback that can transform our classrooms into something so much more than what it currently is. Meanwhile the people in our schools who crave new best practices, evaluate their progress as a teacher, and seek differing opinions of what is good and bad practices are looked at as revolutionaries. Somehow we’ve gotten to the point where pushing ourselves to be better than we were last year makes us an ‘overachiever’ or ‘pushing the envelope’.
Hopefully I never get too old to learn something new.