15 August 2008

Eyes and Ears

Do you remember that fantasy you had when you first decided to go into teaching? It comes right after you believe that you are the one who will save the world. It's the one where you just know that your kids will hang on your every word. You'll be up in the front of the room doing your thing and every functional eye and ear in the room will be enraptured by your teaching.

Then, you get into a real classroom with real students...and you don't live the dream life.

I have to tell you, though, that the biggest lesson I've learned so far in my new role is that one should be careful what one wishes for (or dreams about). Like E.F. Hutton, when I talk, people listen. I'm used to working with teens. I'm not used to seeing a whole table of people stop and turn to look at me and listen to every word when I'm just wanting to make a small contribution to the discussion. (My BFF mentioned that this is akin to an Alan Greenspan effect...or perhaps the papacy. Same thing, right?)

What this means is that I can't really participate with teachers the way that I like to. I just want to be a collaborative voice at the table. A font of wisdom, I ain't, but they view me as such. Any training I mention or resource I might have seen in the last 17 years is viewed as "The state is recommending...", when that certainly would not be my intention. It is an odd position to be in. I have ideas I'd love to share, but if I do, it may end up being like some version of The Telephone Game...so instead, I withhold information. I'm not thinking about work in progress or other information which shouldn't be shared freely. I'm thinking about a book that might support some work a district science person is doing. Do I share the book idea and risk the information being overblown...or do I keep quiet and hope the teacher figures it out on their own. I don't know how to balance all this yet, so I'm erring on the "quiet" side. I don't like that, but until I can find the middle ground, I also don't have to worry about getting myself (or the office) into trouble.

I don't have my head wrapped around this job yet. Am I expert enough to merit all the eyes and ears that are on me now...and make some dreams come true for teachers along the way?


Clix said...

Maybe try writing things down? On paper or a read-only file, so the one that's from you won't get changed?

Every new job takes some settling in. You'll do well! There's just some awkwardness first. :)

The Science Goddess said...

A good suggestion and one that I'll keep in mind. I'm sure I'll figure out a few tricks of the trade over time.