August 27, 2008

The Students Return

Tonight was Freshman Orientation at the high school and Meet the Teacher night at the middle school. I really enjoy the energy that the students bring to the building, and I enjoy interacting with them.

At the high school today, I saw a few kids who I had in class from when I was student teaching here two years ago. They were all excited to see me, and it was great seeing them. There is a lot of positive energy at this school. Students are really excited about DECA and the school store.

Don't Chase Perfection
I'm getting to the point where I feel very comfortable as a teacher. "Teacher" is a word that I can internalize and completely identify with. Being a teacher feels totally natural. I have a lot of experience with this; I've really been teaching in some form or other from the time I was 13 years old.

Of course, there is always room to grow. In the past week and a half of workshops, we've been told everything that good teachers are supposed to do. I try my best at all of them. But I'm not, and I can't be, doing all of these best practices 100% all of the time. I'm much better at some areas than others. I'm definitely still learning.

And, what I've realized is that I'll always be learning. There will never, ever be a point in time when I'll know all there is to know and do everything perfectly. There's a great line from The Martian Child by David Gerrold:
"While I was spending my time trying to figure out how to raise an eight year old, the eight year old turned into a ten year old."
Things change; skills can always be improved; your inbox is never empty. Great teaching is a journey. Learning how to be a great teacher is not about trying to hit some target in the future; it's about continually doing the very best you can right now. The only time we really have is the present.

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