I had a principal tell me this year that the ID badge of all new employees should have a big "R" on it for "rookie." And when you were faced with an awkward situation or made a misstep, you could pull out your rookie card and ask for forgiveness. I think this is a brilliant idea.
I have been a rookie at several points during my career---from the very first day in the classroom, to new buildings, grades, courses, and roles. I am beginning to be "a woman of a certain age," meaning that by this point, others are expecting me to be settled down into a career...and competing with younger (less expensive) workers is going to be an increasing challenge. But it also means that I'm not bothered by change anymore. I'm too old to let that get in the way of what I need to do. I know it's a waste of energy to worry about it.
I can't claim, that it gets easier. It's hard to start all over with a new job in a new district. It's humbling to continually admit that you don't know the answers (yet) and build relationships when you don't know all of the back stories. I will say, however, that this has been the nicest transition I've ever made. It makes all the difference to be surrounded by people that care about doing the best job that they can and who appreciate what I can offer and bring to the district.
I told someone recently that I had forgotten that people could say nice things. It's not that my previous job was awful or that there weren't good people to work with. But it had been such a long time since anyone cared about what I had to say or had an interest in new ideas. I feel valued as a person and as an educator. My work days are long and I have more to do than ever before...and yet I wake up every morning and can't wait to get to work. That feeling, too, had been long forgotten.
The rookie card is an awkward one. On one hand, it screams inexperience...and on the other, it asks for empathy. I only have six more months to use mine, although I feel the need to play it less and less. I may be turning into an old lady, but I also feel more confident, more needed, and more ready to help teachers and students than ever before. I'll be ready to flaunt my pro status.