Sep 15, 2009

Pay It Forward

My first year teaching was a yearlong hazing process.

It was waking up at 5am daily to put together fresh lesson plans, running to and from the copy room in work shoes, getting very little sleep, having virtually no social life, and coffee. Everything was fueled by coffee. It was weekly, night-time, meaningless traffic school disguised as credentialing class. It was adjusting my practices and discipline methods on an almost weekly basis. It was driving up and down the 580 and the 13. It was accumulating grown up things like thermoses, work bags, dress shoes, and work socks. It was going day-to-day fighting to survive while hoping maybe somewhere in the process good teaching would occur within the confines of my classroom walls.

I survived only through teachers and people who looked out for me.

I beg, borrowed, and stole my way through my first year. Every teacher I met with resources, I asked for them. Teachers from my school, teachers from other schools, bloggers, anyone. I took what they had, chose what I liked and what I didn't like, remixed them, and filtered out what didn't work for my students and me. I know there's a certain pride I could have in saying I'm a great teacher. Period. But I am who I am because of the teachers who helped me get there.

First year teaching is not about reinventing the wheel. Thousands of teachers have taught the exact same stuff you've done and walked through those same pair of shoes. I put all bets that most are willing to share with you what they've got b/c they know what you're going through.


Thus, these past few weeks I've found myself paying it forward to this year's new crop of first year teachers. I easily pass along every ounce of digital material I've spent hours producing to the new teacher seeking help before me. I easily spend that extra 15 or so minutes checking in and walking them through exactly what's been successful for me...

being sure to point out: it'll be a year of adjustments and hard work. But find what works for you, and, as one principal continuously pointed out to me so much that it became my mantra, it will get better.

1 comment:

Bkcpisme said...

i for one am proud of you, sir.