Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Butterflies

I just did an orientation to Aspirations work for new teachers in one of our 42 Demonstration Sites.  Do you remember it?  Standing on the edge of starting as a teacher--either for the first time ever or for the first time in a new school?

I do.

I recall the butterflies.  I recall hoping my students would like me as well as hoping they would learn from me.  I wanted to be cool, but I also wanted to be engaging and effective.  I recall thinking I had to be strict, but also that I had to show I cared--and as a newbie I couldn't always figure out how those two went together.  I  also remember being anxious around veteran colleagues and drifting (in retrospect, unhelpfully) away from their wisdom and experience and towards teachers who were new like me.

Here's what I don't remember as I took my first steps in a career that is now nearly 30 years long.  I don't remember hoping my students would do well on my tests.  I don't remember standing in front of the room on any of those first few days wondering how my students would do on standardized tests later in the year.  I never once thought during the first month of school: "I should go ask a veteran teacher what they do to help their students choose the one right answer from among four possible answers."

Why did you become an educator?  Why are you starting your [fill in the blank] year in education?  These first few days and beyond, reconnect with what the butterflies were all about so that your students can blossom.

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