Friday, September 28, 2012
Driving & Teaching Conditions
For months when I first got my learner's permit I would take the long way, or at least slightly longer way, to church. The normal route required a left turn at a curve in the road that made it hard to see oncoming traffic well. I decided it was easier to avoid that turn and take the longer way. Eventually my father got fed up and informed me that we were going the normal way to church and I just had to learn to make that turn. I did but it scared me. Too much going on and I couldn't see it all.
Thinking back to my first years of teaching it feels the same way. Keeping track of everything I needed to was immensely challenging and stressful. Classroom management, assessment, lesson plans, paperwork, communication with parents...much less really knowing my students and their needs. Too much going on and I couldn't see it all.
Like driving that all feels under control now. It still requires my attention and thoughtfulness, just as driving does, but I've synthesized it, brought it together, done it for years, and it feels pretty natural.
I worry about young teachers because I believe that they have too much to keep their eyes on. It's not just driving, it's driving in heavy traffic, in a rain storm, late at night, through a construction zone.
Not only do they have to do everything teachers have been doing for decades, but they have to create SMART goals (or if you are in my school district, SMARTR goals), have at least one hour long team meeting each week, create, administer, and analyze common assessments, and who knows what else.
It seems they need a shorter route for a bit as they adjust to all of this. They need to be able to avoid that scary turn until they have the experience and confidence to make it.
photo from kretyen on flikr