Thursday, November 23, 2006
I'm an accidental teacher. I am the first college graduate from a family of barely high school graduates. With no role models, I followed the only profession where I knew college graduates, I became a teacher. I'm lucky. I found a career I love. I loved it from my first day. I really wanted to be a great teacher. I was always good at things, but never really, really good and definitely not great. I did not meet my own criteria and was depressed. Lucky for me I became good friends with Phil, who I assumed was an experienced teacher. He was so comfortable with the kids. He knew everything about the school and he helped me immensely. Aside from the teaching basics, he helped me realize that I didn't have to be perfect to be good at what I did. It was okay if a lesson bombed occassionally. It wasn't my fault if the kids didn't listen. He helped me to not be afraid, not of the kids, the administrators or anyone else. He taught me that I didn't not have to be great. just had to do my best and to care about the kids I taught. I owe my success in teaching to Phil. I found out, thirty years after I started teaching that Phil was a new teacher, too. He was teaching just one term longer than I was. Since today is Thanksgiving, I am publicly giving thanks to my wonderful friend and mentor. May all new teachers find a Phil to help them through.