Friday, September 5, 2008

Better Than Ever?

I'm sorry that my posts have been so few and far between lately.  The beginning of the school year is always such a crazy time and this year the added responsibilities of mentoring two new teachers and having a student teacher have not helped.  I'm so thankful that this is my fifth year of teaching and not my first, but sometimes I think I'm putting in just as much time.  I'm not in survival mode like I was back then, but now with experience comes the need to improve upon what I've done in the past and to share what I've learned with others.  

I was thinking yesterday how nice it would have been for my past students to have had me as their teacher knowing what I know now.  Obviously we all have to start out somewhere with some group of students, and they all made it through second grade with me as their teacher, but I would definitely say that I am a better teacher now than I have ever been and wish that they could have benefited from that.  In a few years, I will probably think back to year five and realize how little I knew.  Although it's often daunting and exhausting, I'm thankful to work at a school where the learning is never over and where we are constantly reflecting upon and striving to improve our practice.  I have been forced to learn, grow, and get better.

When I was in college taking education classes and student teaching, my friends and I would often share our experiences in different schools and tell about days that made us know we should be teachers and others when we wondered what in the world we were doing.  I have certainly had a few days in the last three weeks when I have wondered why I became a teacher and others when I knew I could and should do it.  

When I first started out, I thought for sure that I would want to teach kindergarten.  Now that I've been working in second grade, I can't imagine anything else.  Our poor kindergarten teacher has had kids screaming and crying in the halls in the morning (which was me a little over twenty years ago) and I think, "Oh, I'm glad I'm not the one dealing with that!"  They are so tiny!  One great kindergarten moment came this week as I was on duty at the parent pick-up area.  A little boy was sitting there and said, "Hey, do you remember my name?"  I don't think I had ever even seen him before, so I asked him if he could remind me.  He told me that his name was Patrick, spelled P-A-T-R-I-C-K and that I should write it down on a piece of paper so that I would remember it.  The next day I saw him coming out of the cafeteria as I was taking my class to lunch.  I said, "Hi, Patrick!  See, I remembered your name!"  His reply:  "That's because you wrote it down!"  I can be a teacher for moments like that.

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