In the Lou

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 19 2007

Teaching is hard work, so says the newspaper

Last Sunday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article on the front page of the paper listing the hardships that new teachers face. If you want to read something that paints a picture worthy of being labeled part of Picasso’s Blue Period, just click here.

I’m not necessarily inclined to say that teaching is easy work, but I think that the article fails to really highlight the real reason teaching can be challenging. Teaching is not for everyone. To make things work in a tough situation, you have to be ready and willing to do whatever it takes. Teachers don’t have to turn lead into gold. We just have to break open the geodes we get to reveal the hidden gems.

Tomorrow, school starts. Some unknown number of students (likely between 88-112 total) will walk through my door and start forming impressions about me and my class. At that moment they meet me, I can’t be beleaguered by beliefs that my job is so immense that I will have a hard time achieving the goal of providing my students an excellent education. They’d see the fear and the classroom would be theirs from a management standpoint.

Yes, it will be hard. Yes, I will be challenged. But I am not in this alone. Maybe because I know this and believe this my task seems tractable.

To be quite honest, I’m calm about tomorrow. I’m not seasoned pro, but this is the third time out of the gate for me. I also spent all summer moonlighting in teacher mode while overseas.

I’m expecting that I’m going to just open my mouth and the right things are going to come out. Granted, I do have my systems in place, my copies made, the desks numbered… but I don’t have a twelve-point plan of things I need to cover day one. In fact, I’m not going to start covering anything until day two.

Steven Covey says you have to begin with the end in mind. I know what the end looks like now, even better than I did at the actual end of last year, so I am not as stressed about the beginning.

I should lay out my grand end-plan now, but I think attempts at sleeping would be better since tomorrow is the first day of school for my students and for me as a student. I start graduate classes tomorrow evening which means I have to attend class from 4:15-9:35. I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it.

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    a Teach for America science teacher in St. Louis

    St. Louis
    Middle School

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