Tomorrow marks the 1/2 way point of my fourth year of teaching. I can’t believe it’s gone this fast. It seems that every few months each year I begin to evaluate my teaching career, where it’s headed, if I want to stay with it, and what’s been accomplished. Each year the thoughts have slightly different avenues, but end up at the same location: I truly love my job.
With that said, it’s fun to think about what has been learned each year. If you are a teacher, you know your professors outlined to you what the first few years will be like and what you’ll probably experience during each one. It goes in one ear and out the other, because you’re not there yet. You’re just trying to finish school and FIND a job…you’ll worry about the transitions later! I would have to agree with some of my professors’ thoughts, but I’ve come up with my own summations up to this point.
Year 1- SURVIVAL. Just get the lessons planned somewhat in advance, don’t get lost, learn names as fast as possible, be consistent and fair, and try to get SOME rest in between.
Year 2- Fix all the things you messed up the first year and now you have a handle on what’s coming. You feel relaxed in the environment, but now you’re getting to know the culture of the school/church and the families as well. It gives you more insight into the children you’re teaching and leading. But, you’re still somewhat on survival mode half of the time.
Year 3- For me it would be labeled ORGANIZATION. I know have a place for everything, a file, a plan already for next year, reliable contacts, and the clutter is minimal. Lesson plans are now more streamlined.
Year 4- EXPANDED VISION. In three years you learn a lot and now you’re thinking 3-5 years down the road for some possible projects, musicals, trips, concerts, grants, or an advanced degree. You have become confident in your teaching style and the kids are comfortable with it as well. You can try new things and be more prepared for the variables kids bring. For me though, it has been a chance to make the educational world I’m in touch with a better place for these students.
I may look back 10 years from now and be able to list everything I will have learned since this point, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will enjoy the moment I’m in now and make the best of it. I pray God gives me insight and vision to see the teachable moments for the students and myself as well.