A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mastery, Masters, and Marketability

During my first long-term sub assignment in 2006, one of the teachers on my hall told me that it took him 3 years before he felt comfortable teaching.  I've heard the 3 year figure bandied about in other circles.  In going the Career Switcher Alternative License Route, I missed out on the experience of student teaching.  The Reading Specialist at the school where I recently completed a long-term assignment as a Kindergarten teacher recommended that I needed student teaching experience to become more marketable.  Since a professional license requires a certain amount of professional development, and since I realize how much I would benefit by collaborating with a master teacher, I'm ready to follow the advice I'm being given.  Tonight, I went to an information session at Marymount University and was advised that since I already hold a professional license in elementary education, it made sense to pursue a Master's in a complementary area such as K-12 Special Education or ESOL.

This week, I've subbed in math and reading remediation courses in middle school and in an ESOL class in high school.  In both cases my experience teaching elementary school helped me teach within the zone of proximal development of the students.  Yesterday, I helped struggling learners develop confidence in following step-by-step procedures for adding and subtracting mixed numbers, highlighted and celebrated all steps done correctly, and identified consistently missing steps.  Students became so excited about how proficient they were becoming at solving these problems and teaching each other that they chose to continue solving problems on white boards rather than playing a math game.  Today, I taught beginning literacy voice-to-print matching and directionality concepts of print I learned while teaching Kindergarten to high school ESOL classes.  Not surprisingly, the sensitivity to feelings and respect for learners that I have developed while teaching young learners, is appreciated in higher grade levels.  A Masters in Special Education will make me more marketable, plus I'll get that student teaching experience I've been missing, but I'm already an effective teacher.