08 August 2008

Passing the Torch

With the Summer Olympics kicking off, as well as another school year, it seems like a good time to talk about Passing the Torch. I have been thinking about this while reading various blogs by new to the profession teachers. I wish I had starred the one post where a teacher talked about how her first classroom was starting to feel real and that she just wanted to close the door and make snow angels on the carpet. (If anyone knows the post I'm talking about, I'd love to link to it.)

Do you remember that feeling? I do. Even the ugliest room in the school would have looked sparkly in my eyes. My classroom. Oh, how wondrous that seemed.

I also remember the learning curve---how each person at central office or support staff at school would give new directions and paperwork, as if they were the only ones doing so. It was overwhelming at times. Reading Not Quite Grown Up's posts about getting settled in her first job remind me of all those things. This is also true for experienced teachers who are changing schools and/or grade levels. There is lots of learning that has to occur when the kids aren't around.

I feel like I've been on my own "Farewell Tour" this week, ostensibly to celebrate my new job, but in some ways, to say "Goodbye." I will still be in the area---I'm not moving---but time will be very limited. Tuesday evening, I had martinis with some girlfriends. Wednesday, I had lunch with a teacher I mentored and with whom I have enjoyed working over the last few years. He is ready to take on the full meal deal of standards-based grading and is also very interested in pursuing the cell phones in the classroom ideas and some other things I was thinking about. I feel like my teaching will live on, in a sense. I like that.

Today, I'm headed out for a coffee date with some elementary teachers I worked with this past spring. I loved that school and am still sad about not getting to go back (I fell victim to budget cuts in that district), but I think it means that my tenure in elementary schools isn't done. At some point in my career, I am going to have to go back and fully scratch that itch.

It is common around the edusphere to provide bits of wisdom to new teachers as the school year begins. It is the perfect time for all of that "advice" that was contained within June's graduation speeches, but no one really remembers now. What is the very best thing we can say to one another to send out a message of support to our peers? If you were to Pass the Torch to another teacher, what would you use to stoke the fire?


Clix said...

Well, I don't really see myself as a veteran yet, but my advice would be to build your support network if you haven't already. My first year, I called my mommy at least three mornings each week. And that was in addition to having a stay-at-home-Hunk who took care of me!

The Science Goddess said...

Kewl. Would your mommy mind if I called her as I start into the new phase of my career? :)