Sunday, February 26, 2006

Being the Dinosaur

On Saturday I drove to Philadelphia
to give a workshop for a
Teach for America mini-conference.
A woman came by at the end who had
missed my presentation to ask for my hand-outs.

"You were in the '97 corps?" she exclaimed incredulously.
"Ohmigosh! How old are you?"

I'm 30.

"You've been teaching that whole time?"

Yep. The whole time. Nine years.

I noticed she was a 2005 corps member
which could easily have put her in eighth grade
my first year teaching.

What I should have said to her is that nine years is nothing.
You still feel like you aren't meeting every child's needs.
You still have more questions that you do answers.
The questions are just harder to answer.

Back in '97 I asked:
How can I prevent my students from bringing potatos from home
to throw during my lesson? (yes, that really happened)
How do I make sure they'll stay in the room if I hold
them for detention?

While today, I wonder:
What can I do to help Nisha read better, she seems to be in the same place?
How can I help Lawanna write more critically of her reading?
What are the best strategies to help Yasmin learn despite her dyslexia?


Am I doing enough? Am I doing enough?
Can I do it better? Can I do it better?

In two years teaching, you may think you have it,
in nine, you know you've barely started.

5 Comments:

Anonymous KMS said...

AMEN!
Send this one into the Teach For America newsletter and watch 'em squirm.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

seriously...this should be in every "foundations to education" textbook.
or...maybe it is...and we didn't pay attention to it when we first started out either. lol

barely started...sigh...that is daunting but true.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous IOCM said...

after 11 years and lots of "other" experiences I have many more questions than answers. Thank you for putting it so well! How luckyTeach for America is to have you.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous shelley said...

the longer you teach, the less you're sure about.
i think there is a proverb---something like, "A wise man realizes how little he knows."

I've been teaching since 1985 when I taught 2nd and 3rd grade. I could have been your teacher.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, since I know you all, I could be your parent:-)

DLF

9:41 PM  

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