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You're Getting Better

posted Oct 20, 2019, 3:59 AM by HSD Principal
I remember my first year teaching: It took forever to get ready for each day. I was super inefficient at grading and returning student work. And I couldn't think more than a day or two ahead. (Moving to being guidance counselor, chaplain, and then principal brought back many of those same feelings and experiences.) I also remember thinking, "Other teachers have been here forever (anything over five years seemed like a really long time), so it must get easier at some point."

In his article in Education Week, Justin Minkel argues that teaching doesn't in fact get any easier over time; the instruction and student interactions are just as challenging year to year. But, the job does get better as teachers continue to learn and grow. Here are some growth experiences he highlights that make the job more rewarding:
  • Looking at your next class and seeing each individual student with all their potential;
  • Balancing responsibility with moments of joy, with students working hard every day but also laughing;
  • Learning when to follow your instincts and when to question long-held beliefs, “when to trust yourself and when to ask for help, when to give your methods time to work and when to try something different;”
  • Bringing your hard-earned experience to bear on each new dilemma, “whether it’s a child who still can’t read or a child who won’t stop crying and come out from under her desk;”
  • Being less negative about tests, rubrics, and standards, seeing them as important tools for teaching and learning (think back to Leighton's UBD presentation);
  • Teaching little brothers and sisters of former students and reconnecting with families that love you.
  • Learning, “like Odysseus does in Homer’s Odyssey, that the trials of a day, year, or an entire career can become sweet in the telling – that the absurd situation that made you gnash your teeth this morning is kind of hilarious as you tell your loved ones about it.”
As we push into second quarter, remember that that things you learn each day, week, and year will help you as the next class of students walk into your room.