Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Whole New World

Tomorrow, I begin a new adventure. After 17 years at my old school, I begin teaching kindergarten in different school.
Friday, was my last day and after hugging my students goodbye, I brought them to the dismissal gate where I hugged their parents goodbye. I had a good cry because this has been my family and my home.
Afterwards, I got in my car and went to meet my new boss. I think we are going to get along very well because we share similar views about how to best serve our students and about encouraging healthy eating habits.
But, I am still very nervous about this adventure. After being second guessed and derided for a considerable time, I have begun second guessing myself. Even as I am told by colleagues and parents that I am a terrific teacher and even as I read that the effective strategies to be implemented are none other than those I have been using for most of my career, I question my ability.
Well, time I suppose to get some tea and relax before the next chapter begins.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where Is the Love?

This year January 9th will be Halloween part 1. I am going to don a happy mask and pretend to be somebody else.
Tomorrow, I will be returning to work after a three week holiday break.
Usually at this point I am excited to see my students and begin a new semester. I can't wait to see how many have lost teeth, grown taller, are more capable, and are eager to learn.
This year I can't muster that enthusiasm. I should be completing my lesson plans and entering my test scores into a database, but I am paralyzed by fear.
If you've read my blog before, you know that I love teaching. While it wasn't the job I ever imagined that I would want, I have loved being a teacher. I am even hopeful that I will love teaching again...
But what will I do about tomorrow?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I love to teach. It's what I do and who I am.
To quote one of my high school art teachers; it was a "happy accident" that brought me to teaching. I wasn't that child who aspired to be like her teachers... even my mother who was (and in many ways, still is) a teacher didn't inspire me towards that profession. What brought me to teaching was the concurrence of a shortage of teachers in Los Angeles and my need for a job. Add the fortunate circumstances of having received a BA (instead of a BFA) and the recently instituted District Internship Program and here I am, a teacher.
Recently, I have been displaced from my teaching position. Although this was technically the option of my doctor and me, I was in a position that left me few alternatives. As an enlightened viewer of Oprah Winfrey's Life Class, I am refraining from saying that I was 'put' in that position although I will restate that I love teaching and believe in my heart that teaching is my true calling in this life.
Currently, teaching is my rock. It weighs on me that I am away from my students and that I am needing to explore other career options. My hard place is an administrator who feels that bullying teachers is the way to optimize results. He has acknowledged that students should feel supported in their efforts... "nobody wants to go where they feel they are a failure"... but he seems unable to extend that thinking to adults. In 24 years as a classroom teacher, I have received positive feedback from students, parents, co-workers, administrators, support staff, and experts. I was selected as a mentor teacher to help new teachers achieve success, I've received commendations from the school board, and done demonstration lessons for teachers from other states as part of a district program. Yet, here I am at home on a school day with at least two more weeks of staying away from school as per doctor's orders.
In Paul Newman's film The Verdict, the character of Kaitlin Costello says "Who were these men? I wanted to be a nurse!"
Who are these people who allow administrators to abuse their authority? Some of us want to be teachers!