I came across this video that Diane Ravitch posted on her blog: The Myth of the SuperTeacher .
I think her candor, humor and honest reflection is not only refreshing, but probably what makes her a Superteacher today. Hearing people talk about how easy our jobs are (you know summers off an all) is one of my number one pet peeves. Especially if they've never been in a classroom.I barely even remember my first year. I think I blocked it out! :) I actually went through an alternative certification program and had the hardest time finding a job. I probably went on more than 25 interviews-in the most urban part of the district, for 5th grade positions-had no idea what I was talking about, all my experience had been with young children.
I did finally get a job teaching my ideal grade--Kindergarten! I remember my first classroom vividly-it was a room that they had split in half with a big partition the school had grown so much. We had over 1200 students just Pre-K-5th grade. There were 6 Kinder teachers on the team. The class attached to us was bilingual so it wasn't too distracting that we could hear their lessons, because they were in a different language. Every once in a while we would hear their ESL lesson and a child would remark "hey, they are speaking English!". I had 27 kiddos my first year! We were in tight quarters. I still remember some of the students' names. I actually have a memento on my fridge-this is a picture Henry drew for me---it's God. I just loved the big hands. I shared it with my mom and she made it into a magnet for me-been on my fridge ever since. He would be 17 now.
I look back on it and don't remember doing things like differentiating at all. I was moving a few years later and found a roster that said some of the students were LEP-I didn't even know that at the time. I know some were probably gifted but don't remember seeking out that testing process for them. I didn't even know we were doing standardized testing in December. My reading coordinator came in a few weeks before the big test and said you are doing practice tests, right? For what? They ended up building a new school across the street and because of the loss of enrollment, they had to let go their 10 last hired teachers. So I ended up job-hunting again. When I got to my new school I think it was meant to be. I didn't realize how bad it was at the old school until I saw how they did things at the new one.
Now, 12 years later I still doubt myself quite often. One day someone will figure out I really don't know what I'm doing. But I do think I've grown a little bit each year and that's important. We have several brand-new teachers starting at our campus this year and I love the sparkle they have in their eyes. I want to make sure they get the support they need to get through those milestone first few years.
So, what was your first year teaching like? If you aren't like me who seems to have blocked most of it out! :)