When an opportunity arises we have three choices: jump at the chance, delay making a decision, or saying “No thanks”. I am one of those people who tends to procrastinate when making decisions. But after two years of teaching, where there is never a moment to spare, I have learned to jump at every opportunity. There’s no time to procrastinate.
That’s how I began writing this blog. Anthony Rebora, Editor for Teacher Magazine, posted a notice on the web site that he was looking for ideas for a new teacher-written blog. I wrote back and suggested that he have a “career-changer” write about the experience of becoming a new teacher. He responded by inviting me to become that writer. I jumped into it right away, and I have really enjoyed it. I have heard from a lot of older “new” teachers, people who began teaching after various other careers. Some are doing it alone, by taking classes in education to become certified. Others, like me, are participating in programs that sponsor new teachers. My program is called the Resident Teacher Certification program. Most of these programs are recruiting people to become teachers in high demand fields like math, science, and special education. If you are considering making such a move, call your state’s Department of Education and ask for information about alternative certification programs. Or check with the colleges in your area, because many institutions are forming cohorts of students in agreement with area school districts.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating: I have learned some of the basics of teaching, and now I want to become an exemplary teacher. As I enter my third year, I am certified, highly qualified, master degree’d, and tenured. I’ve had many opportunities offered to me, and I’ve taken them. I’ve attended lots of professional development programs and conferences. I have joined several committees in school, and I’m serving as a Senior Class Sponsor and Diversity Club member. I’ve written this blog, and I’m working on a couple of articles, which I hope to publish one day.
After two years of experience, I know what I don’t know – and it’s time to improve. I am turning this blog from its current focus on becoming a teacher to a focus on becoming an exemplary teacher. I’m going to examine the topics of special education (battles and victories), professional development (how does one become a better teacher?) and teaching methods. I am really interested in the theory and application of co-teaching, so that will be a strong focus. I’m going to talk about opportunities for growth in teaching. I’m going to listen to your responses. I’m going to be very open about problems teachers face, in the hopes that our professional community will contribute solutions. I hope you’ll continue to share your ideas with me and your colleagues.
Educators are most incredible professional community. Never before have I worked with people who share so easily, even with people they don’t know personally. Thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Here’s the thought I’m carrying with me this summer, borrowed from my principal: “It’s time to go from good to great!”