Once again I was reading Successful Teaching and read a wonderful post about interviewing yourself. However, she got the idea from Teacher, I Don’t Get It. These are wonderful blogs about how we as teachers do not really share our true thoughts as educators. Is it because we’re afraid to? What if we really do complain about the budget cuts, the state testing, the curriculum being thrown in our faces? Would people listen? Would things change?
Well, both of them decided to do an interview with themselves to share some of the thoughts and concerns that they had. So, I’ve decided to do it myself.
I grew up in a small town in Kansas. Not too small though, roughly 13,000 people. I had a wonderful education there and also in college. I have taught one year in an early education center, one year as a long-term substitute in 8th Grade Pre-Algebra, two years in 4th grade, one year of substitute teaching, and I am currently in my first year in a Project Based Learning school teaching math to grades 5-8. Now you may notice I haven’t been long at any position. Well, each one has its own story as to why it was short. I could go on forever about that. I do feel that I am very well rounded in the education field (still not knowing everything) but hope I’m in my current position for years to come.
How was actually teaching different than what you expected it to be when you went into teaching?
Well, first I started in an early education school. I had originally wanted to teach band to middle and high schools, then changed to elementary education. So from the start everything was brand new to me! What I was dealing with there (dirty diapers, potty training, zipping coats, etc.) was completely different from what I learned to deal with.
After that first year, getting into teaching in a regular school, it surprised me just how much teachers really don’t control their classrooms anymore. Testing, testing, data, information, curriculum. . . .all of that rules what happens in the classroom. Low scores here, we change and do this. When can a teacher be creative and really shine as a teacher and show what they enjoy and teach it? It’s really rough out there as a teacher. So much work and expectations and so little individual rewards.
What do people not know about schools or teaching that you wish they did?
First, summer vacation? Maybe for students, but for teachers we are working and looking at the next school year. We are looking over our past plans and see what we can do better, what was so horrible that we have to change completely, what have we always done and it’s time to change? All of this happens during the summer. Another thing is that we don’t work 8-5 jobs. We are always working. We take work home and sit in front of the television or at the dining room table grading and planning for days to come.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing educators today?
The government. They are too involved in trying to “solve” the problems that are in education when they really don’t know what’s going on. They have been out of school for so long that they really don’t remember what it’s like and what we as educators can do to help. Let teachers share what we can do and want to instead of being told what to do constantly.
What is the best thing about teaching?
THE KIDS! When you see the improvements that a student can make from the first day of school to the last is amazing. You know that you have helped that student grow as a person and make the world continue to go around. Some students didn’t “pass the test” but they did learn something. If you saw where that student was in August and see where he is in May, you would be amazed! I love watching them learn new concepts and new ideas and turn it into their own learning and growth.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?