I've been reading a lot of negative stuff about some of the newbie teachers and decided to post about one newbie in my school, Joyce.
Joyce, it turns out, went to elementary school with my son. I found this out quite by accident when she was relating the tale of an accident she had on the way to school. We chatted about the location, her age, her school years and determined that they were friends in another life. That, is not what makes Joyce special. But, if not for this connection, I might not have gotten to know her to find out how special she is.
First, I want to mention that Joyce is Asian, the same ethnic background as my AP, the same man that is making every senior teacher's life miserable. Joyce is nothing like him. He might have hired her because of her ethnicity, but she deserved to be hired and is doing a great job. Joyce really cares about the kids she is teaching. She comes in early and discusses her lessons with other teachers. She agonizes when they don't do well and never hesitates when it comes to putting in extra time to help them. Joyce agonizes over the fact that she considers herself a mediocre teacher, but that mediocrity is all that the system wants. This helps her to not worry about job security but encourages her to worry about the future of education.
Joyce and I share a C-6 assignment. Since math tutoring is a brutal assignment, the administration agreed that two teachers would be assigned to the same period, and those two teachers could do a 3/2 split any way they wanted. I took Monday and Wednesday and Joyce took Tuesday and Thursday. We alternate Fridays. If there is no school on one of our regular days, the person who only tutored once takes Friday. If one of us has something to do on our tutoring day, we switch. Joyce is easy to work with. She goes to the assignment cheery. She never minds a switch (nor do I) and she is just an easy person to work with. I've heard complaints from others in my department about their partners.
Another thing I really like about Joyce are her values. She just hooked up with her college sweetheart and the two of them are making plans for a life together. They just spent Thanksgiving apart, realizing that since they will be married next year, it was more important to enjoy their individual families alone. They are happy sitting home, watching a movie, cooking, playing a game or just talking. Joyce plans on being a stay at home mom and they will do whatever is necessary to insure that this is economically feasible.
I'm willing to be that there are lots of Joyce's out there. As I approach the end of my teaching career I'm happy that there are Joyce's out there to take over and carry on.