Being a Teacher is now Reality!
I was fortunate and blessed that I was able to get into a middle school that was close to home and work. I also found out that there was only on class that my mentor teacher taught which meant only one prep. Thank the Lord!
I keep saying that the experience was great, but that was because of the staff and students. I learned so much. I watched the staff teach with passion and professionalism yet have empathy for their students that I didn't expect. I expected that they would be worrying about the standardized test the students would be taking -- not so. All throughout those fifteen weeks they displayed concern or interest in everyone of their students. They had an excellent connection with their student population.
The students, for the most part, were outstanding! I loved the energy and the enthusiasm that they had for learning. OK that is a lie. I had to work hard to make them love Ancient World History. I used as much technology as I could. It made my job easier in some ways, but in other ways, more difficult. There was always that unexpected glitch that I became accustomed to figuring out a different solution. Somehow we always worked it out.
My students taught me how to be patient, merciful, and always craft your words with grace. They also taught me to repeat myself about three or four times before it registered in their little minds!! Yeah, I worked on a lot of repetition!!
Sometimes as a teacher you have no idea if you are reaching your students. My one question was always: "Are they getting it??" Sometimes the signs aren't there. I'm not really talking about assessments here. Any kid can do well on a quiz or a test and totally have no idea what the bigger picture is. My concern was that should be learning the big themes or the big picture. I wasn't always sure if they did or not.
Well, as I found out on the last day some of my students did. While we were saying goodbyes, a number of students made cards wishing me well. At the beginning of one period, a couple of students handed me three sheets of paper with this title: 95 THESIS OF WHY YOU'RE THE BEST TEACHER.
I had to get class started so I didn't have an opportunity to look at it. I just read the part about the 95 Thesis and thought that was really clever. We talked about the Reformation in class and I drilled into them the significance of Martin Luther and his 95 Thesis, thus the mention in the title. I sat down and read the document the next day with a cup of coffee. WOW! What I read there was worth all the blood, sweat, tears, and lack of sleep over the last nine years! Everything I wanted to be as a teacher, my students wrote out about me. What an assessment!!! It didn't matter what other teachers, supervisors, or parents thought of me...it was a moment when you realize that you have connected with your students. They actually learned something. They were listening. Only a teacher can gain that kind of intrinsic reward.
Check out the list for yourself: