Saturday, September 13, 2014

30 Years a Teacher! And Still Going Strong!

It's hard to believe that I have been teaching for 30 years. Actually, it's been longer than that since a fresh-faced 20-year old graduated from college,ready to begin a teaching career. Unfortunately, (or fortunately), 1980 was not a good year for teachers in NYC.  I couldn't get a job in a public school for 4 years. Instead, I taught pre-K, Headstart, and kindergartners.

In 1984, I got my first teaching position.They gave me a kindergarten class. I did not want a kindergarten class. I had had enough of the "babies", but, it was a teaching position, so I took it. The first week my class wasn't ready, so I subbed in a 3rd grade classroom for a teacher who was out, just a couple of days. Administration kept walking in and wandering past, I was thinking, "What's going on?". Next thing I knew, that was my class, and they moved that teacher to the library. (I hope he was happier there).And so it began. I taught there for 15 years, two months in Baltimore, and the rest in my present position.

Last year, a 1st year teacher said to me, "My husband said he doesn't see me as just a teacher for 29 years,(the number of years I had been teaching), he sees me as an asst. principal or principal."

You know, sometimes you really don't catch on to what someone has said, and what it really means, until later. Just a teacher?

Here's the thing. There seems to be the misconception that teachers are at the bottom of the rung when one considers hierarchy in education. For some reason, many people, including teachers, believe that the main objective for becoming a teacher is to eventually leave the classroom.

I have chosen to remain in the classroom. If I am fortunate, I will retire from the classroom. The only thing I will miss from an administrative position is the salary.:) That is my choice, and I know a number of teachers who have made that choice as well.

And although teaching is not always a cakewalk, being in the classroom for 30 years has allowed me the pleasure of:

  • working with children
  • impacting the lives of over 700 students
  • watching students "get it" year after year
  • connecting my students with the world
  • building confidence and self-esteem
  • providing a warm, nurturing, environment
  • laughing in the morning and the afternoon
  • playing outside at Recess
  • field trips
  • dancing in the middle of the day
  • trying out all the wonderful, innovative, ideas, I learn from my PLN
  • did I say working with children?
Being a classroom teacher is not for everyone, there are excellent administrators and intructional coaches out there. 

However, there is no shame in my game.:) 
I am a classroom teacher! 30 years, and still going strong!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wanted:A Great Year! Teachers and Parents Working Toward the Same Goal!

Every year, at the beginning of the school year, I send this form home. I ask my parents to fill it out in ther interest of learning what they want from their child's teacher. What can make this a great year for their child? I always get a handful back, read them, and try to be conscious of living up to reasonable requests throughout the school year.

A student returned her form to me today, it had been living in her bookbag for the past two days. I read it, and found that I really enjoyed reading this parent's insights on what she wants, from me, for her daughter.

One teacher who cares about G.'s educational needs and making sure all resources are applied.
The person must like love there (sic) job, and want all students to succeed. and must be willing to make sure every student under their instruction gets the best education offered. 
This teacher must know that all students learn at a different pace and should be patient, understanding,, and determined.
She/He must love helping children grow and hate failure and excuses. 
Her/His favorite comments to parents should be, "Your child is doing great!"
She/He would love saying, "It's a pleasure having your child and teaching to the students.
Must also be good job.
In return the teacher will receive all positive feedback and support.

While I may not agree with everything this parent wrote,  I appreciate the gist of her message. The great part is, I want what she wants for her child. As a matter of fact, I believe most teachers want what parents want for their child.

I would settle for constructive feedback, and I will gladly take all the support a parent can give! Working together, I know I can give my parents what they want, a great year!