Let me first apologize for being absent on my blog for nearly a month. I can’t even begin to explain the sorrow I have for not writing — especially since it’s my outlet and a way for me to connect and engage with others.
Between teaching new co-workers the ins and outs of teaching (which, I never knew could be so hard!) and staying up to date with already cemented deadlines, I have been barely been able to keep my head above the water.
All I ask is that you please forgive me and I vow to schedule blogs when I cannot be available and provide you wonderful readers with information that will (hopefully) keep you coming back for more.
Okay. With that being said, let’s move on to more pressing issues…like how difficult it is to teach teachers how to teach!
I have been nominated this year as a teacher mentor for one of the newer teachers at work and I have to tell you it’s easier said than done. This week, I had a chance to reminisce about my first years of teaching and I realized just how naive I was to standards and curriculums and all things professional. That was the point I began to feel less frustration for my mentee and more sympathy for her.
Being a new teacher is tough. Especially in this educational economy. Every school and district and state is data driven, accountability is high, and achievement is tracked at all levels.
The first couple of days working with her were difficult because…well…she asked SO MANY QUESTIONS! Questions about procedures and lesson planning that have become as routine and natural as breathing…questions about hypothetical issues that would never occur unless there really was a zombie apocalypse…questions about why I do the things I do, why I talk so fast, why I have so much patience…
But as annoyed I was at first, it finally occurred to me that she’s asking me because she doesn’t know, not because she’s trying to be annoying. And because of that realization, she has challenged me to overcome a perspective and mindset I never thought I’d acquire.
These are my symptoms:
I become impatient and frustrated easily. I oftentimes talk over people because I feel what I need to say or contribute is more important than someone else’s ideas. Data has become more important than the relationships I have with students, parents are no longer parents, but customers, and I’m not teaching a curriculum, I’m selling a product.
Somehow, I’ve gotten into something I’ve identified as an “administrator mindset.”
Yet, because of my mentee’s boldness and courage to challenge my perspective, I have been able to see it for what it is and change. She has taught me to take things more slowly. She has taught me to re-evaluate the processes of my lesson planning. And because of that, I have been able to see why certain students keep stumbling on the same skill sets — something I wouldn’t have regularly seen if she hadn’t challenged me.
The funny part is that I am supposed to be teaching her new things, and though I am, I notice I am learning new things, too.
As much as people say you can’t teach a new dog old tricks, you really can. It just takes a bit of work, perseverance, and humor…not to mention a bit of humility.
Thanks for reading and remember to always wonder!