Saturday, September 24, 2011

My feelings on the teaching profession

This blog won't serve it's purpose if I don't write anything.

It's not that I  haven't wanted to write. or that I don't know what to say.  It's just that teaching takes a lot.  A lot of time and effort and work.  And writing a post about it just seems so...bottom-of-the-list sometimes, you know?

I can tell you that in the past weeks I've been all over in regards to my feelings about teaching.  I've already had the thought, "When will the year be over, and can I find another job for next year?" I've gone days of loving my work, and the challenge it brings.  I've decided I enjoy working with high schoolers.  I've decided I don't like working with high schoolers.  I've been tired.  I've been motivated.  I've been struggling - in productive ways and defeating ways.

I keep thinking about how "some people are meant to be teachers and others aren't."  I wonder who I am.  Am I someone who is cut out for teaching?  Or have I found myself in a job that really isn't for me, and that's why I struggle with it so much?

I guess that's what this blog and this new job are intended to answer.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Every Friday, the students have an early-release day, and we spend the afternoon in Professional Development.  One of the things we do as a staff, (and also with our advisory class) is Connections.  We sit in a circle and once Connections is "Open," one person is allowed to speak at a time, and share whatever is on their mind, school-related or not.  There is no response.  Once they are done, someone else can then share whatever is on their mind.  After a few minutes, usually about 10, Connections is "Closed" and we continue on to whatever was planned for the day.

It can feel a bit awkward, especially when no one is talking, and we're all sitting in silence (you know how people are afraid of silence!)  It can also be rough when you want to respond to someone's thoughts, and even more when you want a response to what you've shared.

But I think it's a great activity.  The title is appropriate; I think it has a way of connecting us.  It provides each person an opportunity to share something they might not have otherwise shared.  It allows us as a group to value each person individually, and allows each person to feel a part of the group.

Some things that have been shared are:  "I'm getting married!"  "I made a poor choice during an interaction with a student today" "I had to miss the first week of school because of a family emergency, here's what happened..."

I really like Connections, because I like hearing what is happening in my co-worker's lives, as I get to know them, and build my relationships with them.  I also like it because I know it's going to challenge me to share.  Share what's in my classroom and my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I love about my new school

1.  The small, tight-knit staff.  Teaching staff:  about 12  Total staff:  about 25  It's small.  On the very first day of my job, when teachers report back but not students yet, I got to watch everyone filter into the school and see each other again after a long summer break.   It was the highlight of my week.   Lots of hugs, and heartfelt greetings, and genuine "Glad you see you" filled the room.  It made me feel excited about my job, even before I had really begun.  A few weeks into the year, I told my husband, "There isn't one person at my job that isn't welcoming and helpful.  There isn't one person I'm not glad to be working with."

2. The lack of unnecessary rules and regulations.  As a teacher, the less I have to worry myself about, the better.  I already have so much to do, and so much to think about, that I don't want to add even one more small thing.  I don't have to here.  I don't have to worry about checking to make sure that none of my kids are chewing gum.  Once I assign a kid detention, it's done.  I don't have to follow up and make sure he attended.  My lesson plans don't have to follow a given format.  I'm not required to make x number of parent phone calls a month.  I am trusted to do what I think is best, and there is such freedom in that.

3. Math support out my ears!  Wow.  This school understands the math crisis, and understands that math is a high-stakes subject that needs a little extra attention.  If a student is struggling, they have so many options to get help:  There is time set aside each morning that I am available for help, there is a before and after school math tutoring session, there are 2 math remediation electives.  I love that I don't have to carve out half an hour every time a student didn't understand something in class.  I love that that student will still get the help he needs.

Overall, I get the impression that my work as an educator is valued and supported.  What a great feeling that is.