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

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A few years ago, I did a career switcher program and got a license in PK-6 Elem Ed. My first teaching job was as a 3rd grade teacher in a Title 1 School. My second teaching job was as a 4th grade teacher in an even tougher Title I School in the heart of gangland. Lacking student teaching experience, I had no idea how difficult it would be to set up a class where extremely needy students, predominantly second language learners in reduced cost lunch programs, could successfully access the curriculum. I received support from a few wonderful people who recognized my ability to personally connect with students, and willingness to differentiate instruction, but the learning curve was incredibly steep. A few people along the way weren't particularly supportive. Some were downright hostile. The data collection process and discussions about the performance of every subgroup on every test frustrated me. I learned the hard way that teaching, in the era of accountability, is a profession with  little tolerance for a learning curve.
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Last summer, I was getting ready to call it quits when I got a call and was asked whether I'd consider taking over a Kindergarten class in a Title I School. Heather had the baby just before the 1st day of school. I stumbled upon a team that respected my unique strengths, plus was willing to help me overcome my deficiencies. Stacy, the lead Kindergarten Teacher had 17 years experience and I could pop in for 5 minutes after school and be pointed in the right direction. From day 1, Stacy invited me to fully collaborate with both the Math and Reading Specialists. That was awesome! The parents surprised me with their level of appreciation and support for their children. Nadine, the Reading Specialist, strongly suggested that entering ***'s program would be a good career decision. Now I'm in the PDS Program and am working on a K-12 Special Education Endorsement. I'm doing my initial student teaching at *** ES in ***, which has a different kind of demographic than I'm used to working with. I have two mentor teachers, Sandra and Chris, who are job sharing. I'm working in the 6th grade resource room. We have all boys, and just received a girl who transferred from another school on Thursday.

Lucky for me, Karen, my beautiful wife, has accepted my decision to take some risks in order to do something important with my life.