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Celebrations and Sorrows

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I am celebrating because I received my Master’s Degree, Leadership in Teaching, from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. I have now been teaching for almost two years. I’ve gone from spending my days with preschoolers exploring songs and science to discussing the European Renaissance with teenagers. It has been an exhilarating, challenging, and exhausting two years. I am feeling relieved to have made it this far. I am feeling uplifted by the experience. I am feeling like a teacher.

I’ve had numerous observations from my administrators, my teacher certification program, people from the central office, and teacher mentors. I’ve asked for suggestions and help, and gotten more than I asked for. I have learned how to manage a classroom, explain grammar, and calculate the value of an egg in depressed Germany. I’ve cried when I watched a film about the Holocaust, I have cried when I was really, really, tired’ and I’ve cried when my students’ struggles were overwhelming to them. I’ve laughed a lot, too. Celebrations and sorrows abound in education.

I’m also celebrating because this week I’ll complete all the requirements for the Resident Teacher Certification program. I’ll have earned an Advanced Professional Certificate. I’ll be a genuine tenured faculty member of Arundel High School. This is worth celebrating.

I believe that when one task is done, another arises. When the celebration ends, the work begins again. So with all this celebrating I feel a little sorrow, too. I will miss my ninth grade English class. These students made me work so hard: I learned more from them than from any other place or person. Some of them will be in my class again next year, and I feel sad because I was not successful helping them become successful. We need more time. But some will move on, and I celebrate with them.

I had to give a presentation to my mentor and my principal as an exit interview for the RTC experience. I summarized by saying that I feel I am now a competent teacher. I’m 47 years old, just beginning this career, and I have no time to let up. I’m more focused now. I want to become more than just a competent teacher; I want to become an exemplary teacher. As my principal Mrs. Stratton likes to say, “We’re going from good to great.”

So I’ve celebrated this long weekend, and rested a bit. Now just two weeks left in the school year. I’ve got to think about that next thing I’m going to do. I’ll tell you more about it shortly.

As the school year closes, I hope you’re celebrating something, too.

17 Comments

Congratulations on your accomplishments. I've been following you throughout the year. Wondering also how you got this blog gig? I just finished general ed student teaching at a suburban elementary 2nd grade. I move on in two weeks to an LD placement at a juvenile detention facility. The boys are 14 through 21, and locked up because whatever they did, if they were adults, it would have been a felony. They say they are good boys in class, no problems because their choice is a cell or a classroom. They get three squares a day, a roof over their head, and they are stable. They are, as the director puts it, emotionally needy, and I think that's where I come in, because at 48, just starting out, the career I've been in the longest is Mom. At first, my kids were worried, but now that they know I'll be safe, they think I'm going to love it and have a lot of faith in their "ole" mom. I think I'm going to love it also, and can only hope as the summer wears on I find similar joy in an employment situation for the fall. Best wishes for your future.

Congratulations on your Masters and tenure, Hanae! You deserve the honors. I too am celebrating. My Masters was completed three months ago and a few weeks ago, I got the word that I am going from part-time traveling teacher to full-time Middle School teacher. I feel like at the age of 53 I have started my life all over and I can't wait to see how it comes out!

I am just so very proud of you and everything you have done.

Congratulations! I know what hard work you have done! I look at your hard work and achievements and find hope that somehow I can continue on in my own struggle to do a similar work like you have done also. I am 54 and have been striving for the last 4 years to work full time, complete my MAT in Middle Grades Language Arts and to do what you have accomplished. I had reached a point where I though perhaps I was laboring in vain. I enrolled in NC Teach this summer trying to find the "fast track" into the classroom. I still struggle on, swimming upstream, looking for the way that you have found! Congratulations, cudos all around!

Hanne,
Way to go, teach! The struggles and the triumphs of our profession are what make it special, quite different from so many other endeavors. I've taught for more than twenty years, and I'm every bit as excited today as that first tremulous experience with a group of ninth grade English students.
Richard

Hi-congrats-read Teacher Man by Frant McCourt-I have been teaching 17 yrs & this book is touching ,hilarious & full of stories of classrooms victories & mistakes we all make in a similar way!

Hi-congrats-read Teacher Man by Frant McCourt-I have been teaching 17 yrs & this book is touching ,hilarious & full of stories of classrooms victories & mistakes we all make in a similar way!

I just finished my 1st year and am a career changer also. My fellow teachers gave me an award for being the most visited class in the building(seems it spared them)! The mentors, supervisors, district people, literacy coaches, it goes on and on. But what an exciting time it has been. Congratulations on all that you have achieved.
I second Teacher Man- I used several passages as read alouds.

Great job! Can you tell me what alternativeprogram did you attend.

Cudos!

Congrats! I, too, am a career-changer - at 48 y/o. I am 1/2 way through the required MAT progrma to get my licensure and will graduate in May 2007. I'd like to know what others may have experienced in their job search as older career changers. Do you have any suggestions? Have you been able to get credit financially for your years of prior work experience as applied to your current pay scale?
Thanks!
Cheryl

Way to go! I just graduated in May with my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, while finishing up my second year teaching. The first year I taught was also under an Alternative License. I'm 47 as well.

Your reference to the stream of people observing you is all too familiar. Some were helpful, others not.

One thing I wonder if you are experiencing: I feel younger than I think I would feel had I taken another path. There is something about the newness, the challenge, and the fresh beginnings (and spending my day with third graders) that makes the fact that being fifty is not very far away seem unimportant and innaccurate. I was also amazed at my ability to still pull an all-nighter on occasion.

The desire to become very good at this is also strong with me, and urgent.

Best wishes,
Paula

I thought I was the only one doing this at 50. I have 4 more classes and 2 Praxis tests and I will be "certified" to teach. I am taking 3 of the 4 this Summer and looking for a job! Most of the schools here don't start seriously interviewing until after July 1. Ny nerves are stretched thin. But your comments are very encouraging.

Congratulations on your accomplishments! As someone following the same path, I know it's not easy! I'm 54 years old, and have just finished my 6th year teaching elementary special ed. I graduated from college in '73 with a BS in Early Childhood/Special Education; now I'm working on my masters in early childhood special ed, with 5 classes to go. I never realized how much work it is to be a teacher, but you know, I wouldn't change my life for the world. It's the most rewarding experience, to witness the growth in these young minds. Good luck in your endeavors, and I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.

I think there are a lot of us career-changers out here. I'm 49 and just finished my first year teaching middle school science after an 18 year career in biotech. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, as well as the most rewarding.

Isn't it a great feeling to love what you do? I too am 47, formerly taught preschoolers and their parents through parent education classes, and a recent career changer. I have just completed my third year of teaching third grade and my Masters in Educational Leadership. I felt like you, in that the Administrative credential would give me more options. I have always taught young children since I was 19, but my career has evolved on many paths. The longest I ever stayed in one job was 12 years, so this gives me the option of becoming an administrator if I feel drawn that way down the road. For now, I feel envigorated by my work and very committed to this job.
I also love educating myself and I have wondered what to do now that I have completed my Masters. My husband has asked me to take a break because teaching and school together seems to consume me. I won't consider my PhD at this time, but for now I may work more slowly and get my GATE certificate. I need to find balance between home and work.

After 30 years in education I recently graduated from a leadership program in Massachusetts. My role as a teacher and now as an adminstrator is to fill the building with spirits such as yours. Your ability to share and your willingness to challenge yourself at this point in your life is inspirational. The path you have chosen is trully incredible. The ups and downs, highs and lows are absolutely the way you described and better! Thank you from a teacher/adminstartor for sharing your insights and in showing us all the positive side of this fabulous calling...may your future be bright, may your tears be plentiful and may all your studnets smile with confidence...good luck and keep sharing!

congradulation in your accomplishment i'm so proud of you. you don't know how much i love your book Angela Ashes it is very sad,funny i love. i remember when i was 16 my teacher ask me to read it i was like do i have to but i soon i start reading it i was like wow this crazy, how come i don't want to read such book i must be stupid enough to act the way i did.

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