Some time ago I was struggling to set up procedures during my literacy instruction. I was attempting to meet with a guided reading group while the reminder of my class was engaged independently in a meaningful activity. For some students the “independent” activity was a too challenging and they needed support. For other students it was too easy and they were finishing early. Other students had difficulty remaining on task and caused disruptions. These are the challenges of a novice teacher.
All things considered I was doing pretty well but I knew it could be done better. But I wasn’t sure how. I was building the boat as I was crossing the ocean.
I spoke with some other teachers and we shared the same struggles. After I confided in my principal I found this “struggle” reflected in my evaluation. Prior to that evaluators found little to criticize. I regretted opening up my practice.
Eventually I found other allies. We gained each other’s trust. We celebrated our successes and commiserated in our failings. In team meetings, at lunch, or as time permitted we reflected, shared and collaborated. We mentored each other through some of our best and worst days of teaching. I learned a lot about my practice. I gained many of the skills necessary to navigate the National Board Certification process.
I am holding this experience sacred as I begin a new role.
I’ll be leaving the classroom, part time, when we return to school after the winter break. I’ll teach half a day and spend the remainder being an instructional mentor to new and novice teachers.
I recall receiving little support as a new teacher. I’ve seen too many new educators flounder and leave. Perhaps with better support systems okay teachers can become good teachers and good teachers can become great. Teachers and students deserve the best chance to fulfill their potential. In 2012 I’ve got a chance at helping both. Wish me luck.