Saturday, August 18, 2007

T-Minus 18 Days

I never really understood what "T-minus" meant. I've just seen it and figured it was some sort of counting backwards type thingy.

So 18 more days for the start of the new school year for me (I realize my teacher friends south of the border have already begun so I hope you've had a good first week). I find that since I started teaching, I think of a new year not beginning in January but rather in September. In fact when I think of January 1st, I see it as being close to the mid-way point of the year. Weird I know. It confuses people when I talk of "last year" but may be talking about a time that happened in the year that we are in. Yup. Weird.

Ok so it's almost a new school year for me and I haven't really prepared for it because I've been finishing up courses for my master's. I have 2 more papers to write and have been unbelievably horrible at focusing and writing them. I want them done by this weekend though so I can email them in and not think of it anymore. I have 2 weeks left to prepare for school. I teach grade 1 again this year so should have lots of interesting tales to tell in the next 10 months. I won't be in school anymore (meaning I'm giving myself the year off from taking courses) so will have lots of time to focus on making my lessons as fun as they can be. I have no neighbour as the room next to me will be empty and will be used as a "meeting room". This kind of sucks because I can no longer make quick photocopies or go to the bathroom if need be. I guess I'll just need to learn to hold it in until recess time. Gah!

We have new administration (both principal and vice-principal) so I'm really nervous about that. I've been spoiled in that my "old" administration were very easy-going and very nice (although could be hard-asses at times). I just hope that this new admin will be good too. I don't want any admin horror stories.

Well here's to the new school year. Where in the hell did the summer go?

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Am A Teacher - John W. Schlatter

I was born the first moment that a question leaped from the mouth of a child.
I have been many people in many places.

I am Socrates, exciting the youth of Athens to discover new ideas through the use of questions. I am Anne Sullivan, tapping out the secrets of the universe into the outstretched hand of Helen Keller. I am Aesop and Hans Christian Anderson, revealing the truth through countless stories. I am Marva Collins, fighting for every child’s right to an education.

The names of those who have practiced my profession ring like a hall of fame for humanity … Booker T. Washington, Buddha, Confucius, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leo Buscaglia, Moses and Jesus.

I am also those whose names and faces have been long forgotten but those whose lessons and character will always be remembered in the accomplishments of their students.

I have wept for joy at the weddings of former students, laughed with glee at the birth of their children and stood with head bowed in grief and confusion by graves dug too soon for bodies too young.

Throughout the course of a day I have been called upon to be an actor, friend, nurse and doctor, coach, finder of lost articles, money lender, taxi driver, psychologist, substitute parent, salesman, politician and a keeper of faith.

Despite the maps, charts, formulas, verbs, stories and books, I have really nothing to teach, for my students really have only themselves to learn, and I know it takes the whole world to tell you who you are.

I am a paradox.

I speak loudest when I listen the most. My greatest gifts are in what I am willing to appreciatively receive from my students. Material wealth is not one of my goals, but I am a full-time treasure seeker in my quest for new opportunities for my students to use their talents and in my constant search for those talents that sometimes lie buried in self-defeat.

I am the most fortunate of all who labour.

A doctor is allowed to usher life into the world in one magic moment. I am allowed to see that life is reborn each day with new questions, ideas and friendships.

An architect knows that if she builds with care, her structure may stand for centuries. A teacher knows that if he builds with love and truth, what he builds will last forever.

I am a warrior, daily doing battle against peer pressure, negativity, fear, conformity, prejudice, ignorance and apathy; but I have great allies. Intelligence, Curiosity, Parental Support, Individuality, Creativity, Faith, Love and Laughter all rush to my banner with indomitable support.

And who do I have to thank for this wonderful life I am so fortunate to experience, but you the public, the parents. For you have done me great honour to entrust to me your greatest contribution to eternity, your children.

And so I have a past that is rich in memories. I have a present that is challenging, adventurous and fun because I am allowed to spend my days with the future.

I am a teacher … and I thank God for it every day.