I knew I had an offer at 11:30 this morning.
However, I did not accept it until 30 minutes ago. The minute I read that email I shrieked, did a dance, and called my mom crying.
Then the panic set in. Am I ready for this? Can I actually do this?
I immediately emailed the chair of my department. Dr. Wilson started her career teaching at a middle school in East Harlem, and I knew she’d be honest with me. She called me during my prep at the enrichment program.
After congratulating me, the first thing she said is:
This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. It will be the hardest year of your life.
I knew that, but I needed someone else to say it. The South Bronx is the poorest region in the U.S. I may think I’ve seen struggle, but I haven’t seen anything yet.
It will take a different kind of teaching, and a different kind of commitment for me to make this work.
She also said that if anyone can do this, I can.
I’m going to hang onto that, but I have a lot of work to do. My summer reading list has grown exponentially. Dr. Wilson just emailed a list of over thirty “essential” titles. I love her definition of essential.
I’ve left my school for the final time. My year of student teaching/interning is officially over. I’ve said goodbye to my students. I’ve packed up my desk. I’ve graded finals and submitted grades.
I’m done. And that is a weird feeling. But I’m ready to move on. I’m ready for my own classroom. I’m ready for a new school community. I’m ready for a change.
As difficult as this year had been at times, I definitely learned a lot about myself and teaching. I’ve grown a lot and I’ll take my experiences to help shape how I move forward in my budding career. Not to mention what a godsend the #education community has been throughout the process—between the solidarity of my fellow student teachers, the enthusiastic experimentation of first year teachers, and the wisdom of seasoned veterans, I’m glad I found this little corner of the interwebz for support, laughs, and guidance.
August can’t get here soon enough. Now, the only thing standing between me and my first year as a real, paid teacher is finishing my grad school shenanigans. And on that note, I should get back to my thesis…
“Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them. The physical world is similar to the virtual world in many cases. It’s about being aware. We can prevent many debacles if we’re educated.”—The Truth About Kids And Social Media
You know, being a teacher these days is a lot more than teaching. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.
I am not a counselor. I am not a social worker either. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a family therapist. I’m not a financial manger, and I’m not a life coach.
Teachers are taught to teach, but the reality is that they are expected to fulfill all of these other roles, things that they were not prepared to do in their undergraduate (or even graduate) programs.
It takes a lot of education to become a licensed social worker or counselor or psychologist. It also costs a lot of money to get that education.
I guess I shouldn’t talk, because I’m not in that position, and we have a full staff of licensed social workers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, career counselors, transition coaches, and all of that other stuff, but it doesn’t seem fair that in schools that are not as privileged as mine, people seem to blame the teachers for not being able to be all things at once to every student.
“The creation of the major shows that even financially secure institutions like Colorado College are not immune from a growing call by students, parents and policymakers to create a better connection between what happens in the classroom and potential careers. From career services to internships to new programs, even elite institutions are signaling that career preparation is a key component of their mission. But the new program, and the way Colorado College officials are talking about it, is also reflective of a shift in the way liberal arts colleges sell themselves. Amid much hand-wringing about what the future holds for such institutions (including numerous books, columns and conferences), some leaders have begun to formulate a different argument.”—Colorado College’s education major challenges whether disciplines still define the liberal arts | Inside Higher Ed
An honest dilemma.
This week, I had my classes write two things:
- A narrative non-fiction piece describing a significant memory from freshman year.
- A letter addressed to themselves three years from now, on the night of their graduation.
These two things, along with an essay they wrote the first day of school about their expectations for high school, are going in an envelope and hiding out in the back of my filing cabinet until this group of kiddos graduate.
There’s a problem with one kid’s “present memory” narrative though…