Sunday, January 30, 2011

There is no "I" in Teacher

It is now the 3rd quarter of my first year of teaching. I have survived the following:

1. My first week of school as a new teacher
2. Conferences
3. Staff development days that are smooth and productive
4. Staff development days that are long and writhe with staff tension
5. Angry parent e-mails and phone calls
6. Teaching 3 books I have never taught before and only read once before
7. Sending kids to the principal's office
8. Non-uniform days (you will understand if you teach at a school with uniforms)
9. Having "the talk" with mouthy kids in the hallway (you know, where I am the one who is probably more nervous than the student)
10. Being observed by my principal (and all good feedback!)
11. The week before Christmas break...combined with a non-uniform day

And so much more...of course.

One thing I've really learned, out of the kajillion things I learn every day in this crazy new experience, was from something my "new-teacher-mentor" told me back in November. I was venting...or most likely fretting, to him about something I was nervous about doing in my classroom. I was probably going on and on, and finally he cut me off and said. "Maddie, it's not about you. This whole's not about you. It's about the students."

Shot to my ego.

I wanted to immediately defend myself and say, "Oh I know, of course it is, of course it is." But the truth is, I didn't think like that for my first half-school year of teaching. Every move I made, every lesson I planned, I worried about me. "Is this going to be stupid? Will the kids think this is lame? Will I be able to fill enough time? Will this take too much time? Are the other teachers judging me? Does my principal think I'm a bad hire?" and on and on and on.

Shit, this blog is all about me.

And when you are in college, sure, you learn teaching techniques, lessons, classroom management, organization, standards, etc. But all you're really thinking about is fulfilling your own dream of becoming a teacher. You're not thinking about "changing the world, one student at a time." No, let's be honest, I was thinking about how sweet it would be to have 70 kids calling me Ms. Baird and looking up to me like the awesome, cute, funny, charming, responsible role-model I wanted to be.

Time to get over myself and worry about actually being a good teacher.

So here I am, halfway through the school year, and I finally have a grasp on what teaching is all about. It's tiring and ruthless, but it's not about me. If I love my job, then I love it for the effect I have on my students, not for the effect the job has on me.

And if nothing else...I love it because I get pictures like this, from one of my 7th graders, attempting to draw a "rapier" for a vocabulary assignment.

Is that a rapier in your pocket or are you just...

Okay, no, I won't go there.


Lisa said...

Get over yourself! It must be a theme for this school year, or maybe life : )
We're all in this together.

Barb said...

LOVE the rapier pic!! It could be construed as a "raper" too.. :)

sgetty said...

Awesome! I really enjoy your blog posts! Here's hoping I'll actually get a job so I can go through all of this next year :-)

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