I started my first year as a full-time high school teacher in 2009, 20 years after I started my first year as a high school student. So I guess this is the year I’m supposed to graduate. Not that I expect to go anywhere, but it is a year that I expect to make some major progress in getting better as a teacher. I’m going into this year looking to break away from the structure and format of a textbook-driven curriculum, to meet with my students where their knowledge and interests are and build a better understanding of our world. I didn’t always hit the goals I set last year, but I learned a lot of things and I’m ready to do it again.
As I’m typing this I’m having a conversation with my high school newspaper adviser on Facebook. I’m reminded yet again that I wouldn’t be who I am without my teachers, and that their effect on me continues long after I have left their classrooms. I’ve been lucky enough to continue to talk to some of them and express my gratitude. Others I have lost contact with because of time, distance, retirements, and (sadly) death. But I’m thankful for what they did, and I’m determined to honor what they gave to me by giving all I can to my school community.
For all of the hassle, the paperwork, the frustration, the disrespect, and everything else that drives me mad about education in America today, it’s an honor to be part of that community. Let the circle begin again.