Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reflections of an {almost} Mentor Teacher

So, yesterday at 3:45, I was asked to take the training to become a Instructional Mentor to our Resident Educators.  Today I am sitting in a hotel two hours from home - having completed our first full day of training. 

I love learning new things, and this is right up my alley! 

But, holy cat, has education changed a ton since I started teaching more than 15 years ago! 

Back in the day, there weren't mentors.  No one was really worried if I was stressing out, or would even know unless I freaked out in the teachers' lounge (which happened a bunch my first couple of years!) 

I was so fortunate to work with teachers who were more than willing to help me out when I needed it.  At some point during those first few years, I made a nuisance out of myself to nearly every teacher in our building!  I remember crying more than once over kids' bad behavior or particularly hateful parent letters.  I also remember the joy with which I told every teacher who ever helped me out how great a certain kid did on his latest math test!  Those friendships have survived the test of time - they are some of the women I call "besties" to this day!

I also had great classes my first few years who made it easy to hone my skills.  I started teaching my first year at the end of first quarter when a teacher suddenly quit.  Let me tell you, folks, this was such a blessing!  All of the decorations were up, the gradebook was set up, there were discipline procedures in place, and (best for me, even though I feel a little guilty about it) the parents were so glad to see the previous teacher leave, they love, loved me!   It was like when I was little and my sister got in trouble; for a while I got to play the favorite child, you know what I mean? 

One other factor that I believe helped me a ton was my professional history up until that point.  I left school with a teaching certificate, but didn't use it for about 5 years.  When I went back to the profession, I started as a sub.  The lessons I learned from subbing were invaluable!  I kept a notebook with good/bad ideas of the teachers' for whom I subbed.  Taking on the responsibility for 28 kids at age 28 was, for me, a lot more successful than it would have been when I was 23.  There's something to be said for life experience!

I'll be able to write a more comprehensive post about the RE process after tomorrow's class, but today I just felt like sharing a quick reflection.  With almost 50% of all new teachers leaving within 5 years, it was an interesting trip down memory lane to see what caused me to stay.

So, then, I'm curious about your journey.  What factors have influenced your path in education?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently {and a Favor!}

I've been waiting for this for, like, weeks!  I want to get back into blogging on a regular basis.  I'm planning on working it into my weekly schedule - I've had a blog planning sheet for years (you can get it here); this year I'm really going to use it.

The problem in the past was I hid the planning sheet from myself by putting it in the back of my plan book.  This year, it gets its own clipboard on the wall next to my desk.  That way I'll be sure to see it.  And use it!

Anyway, here it is: the first in what I hope will be a more active blog...

There it is!
the first in what will be many more to come!
Like that positive thinking?  I'm turning over a new leaf!

While your here - I have a favor to ask:
See the top left corner of my blog design?
There's supposed to be a really cute bird house looking thing up there.
Only when I log on, I don't see it all the time.
Can you see it?
Let me know in the comments, please...
Not sure what's goin' on up there...


Now go link up!