Saturday, December 3, 2011

I is for Inspiration

The school where I teach is a lab school. We are located on the campus of our local university, so many of the teachers in our school are teaching not only children but future teachers as well.

I take this part of my job very seriously, remembering my teacher mentor and the wonderful way she inspired me. 
 She's retired now, but still continues to mentor student teachers inspiring them with her knowledge, her leadership skills, and her love of children.

As I think of her, I wonder If I am doing the same for those college students who walk through my door. There are many, freshman and sophomores who are there to just observe, juniors who are given lessons to teach, and finally seniors who this week are responsible for taking over the classroom. 

I think I've been able to teach them some classroom organization, how to read a good story with expression, plan a lesson or two, hopefully a little bit of classroom management (which in kindergarten can be a bit like herding chipmunks) and how to switch gears on the fly. I hope I've taught them how to roll with the punches, work really hard and tirelessly, and how to be patient even when it's really really difficult. 

It's the inspiration that I worry about. 

I think of the conversations we often have at lunch time in the teacher's room. It's the place where we vent our frustrations over administrative policies, reading and math programs we may or may not like, how exhausted we all are, how sometimes children and parents can get the best of us. We vent about how hard we work and how little we are paid for our efforts. There are days when I'm pretty sure we aren't very inspiring at all.

I know I can do better. 

What I really want those future teachers to know is how much I love my job. How being a teacher really is the best job in the world. That even though the paycheck isn't a big one, I love going to school each and everyday. That even when I've had a bad day, and yes bad days will happen, I can't wait to get there the following day and try again, how lucky I am to be working with some of the best teachers in the world, and... 

how very great it feels knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of children.

Now that's inspiration.