Still Feeling Passionate As A Teacher

As a high school student I decided to become an English teacher because of Mrs. Spear, Ms. Gray, and Ms. Marino (now Mrs. Maras).  I looked up to them when I was in their classes and knew I wanted to reach students the way they reached me.  Ms. Gray was my sophomore English teacher and helped me realize that I really “got” Shakespeare and that I could teach it one day.  Ms. Marino knew how to connect with her students and form bonds with us.  Just today a student came to me about something that I used to go to Ms. Marino about when I had her as a teacher.  Mrs. Spear impressed me with her knowledge, understanding, and high expectations.  Really, all three teachers had high expectations and expected the best from their students.  I thought about all three teachers when I was in college to become a teacher.

I’ve posted before about the magnificent Dr. Susan Steffel.  At some point in my future I will teach preservice teachers with the same passion and enthusiasm.  I know I will.

Even though I’m not in the position to teach preservice teachers now, I wish I could find a way to communicate to them not to lose their passion.  With all of the standards and regulations and everything else being pushed on us, it’s easy to fall into teaching to the test.  It’s easy to take the “easy route.”  I’m not sure how or why (well, maybe I really do know why…), but I’ve managed to avoid falling into that hole.  I’m even more passionate now, six years later, than I was when I entered the classroom for the very first time.  I thank my Twitter PLN and conventions like NCTE and ALAN for that.  I thank my students for that.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately.  How can more us who aren’t working with preservice teachers reach them and help them retain their passion?  How can we assure them that giving students time to read in class is time well spent and not time wasted?  How can we reassure them that teaching students and not “teaching standards” is what we’re here for?  I have a cadet teacher right now (a senior observing me and working in my classroom since she wants to be a teacher), and I want her to feel confident as she enters college as an education major.  I worry that our students might be turned off from education majors because of what teachers are facing right now.  What can we do to assure our students that teaching is still, and always will be, an admirable profession?

Has anyone else been thinking like this lately?  Am I off base?  Rambling too much?  I want this passion I have for teaching to reach beyond myself.

**Just added**

If you’re an English teacher, you should join NCTE.

Are you an ALAN member yet?

I know many of you are English teachers/librarians.  Have you joined IRA?  I’m pretty sure each state has a reading association as well. I know Michigan does.

If you don’t want to join NCTE, and you’re an English teacher, you should think about joining your state equivalent.

Are there other membership links I should add?

Comments

  1. I love love love what I do. I know that I love it more than I did when I started – and that had so much to do with awesome Twitter friends like you and others in my PLN (which seems to constantly be growing and evolving) and conferences. I, too, worry about preservice teachers. Those first couple years are challenging even before you think about any of the greater turmoil in and around our profession. We have learned to measure our personal success by what we see our students can do – which is as it should be. And if wet aren’t meeting our expectations, we endeavor to improve. And thank heavens for the support we’ve been able to find online! I have one recent HS grad who wants to teach English and I’ve done my best to encourage and model and share what’s kept me not only going but feeling enlivened in my classroom: my students and my PLN. I’m hoping she can tag along to NCTE and ALAN some year. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I would love to have former students tag along with me at NCTE and ALAN. My students now tell me how much they wish they could come :) We’ll need to try and stay in touch with these students so we can encourage them to attend. In one of my final English courses at Central it was mandatory to attend MCTE (our Michigan equivalent) since it took place that semester. I’m so thankful Dr. Steffel had us attend.

      • Susan Steffel says:

        Thanks, Sarah, for continuing to teach with passion and joy. Thanks, too, for your kind words. My keynote topic for Spring MCTE on March 16 (http://micte.weebly.com/) is exactly this– how to maintain the passion of teaching and learning. You nailed it–it’s about connections, specifically professional connections that we maintain over the years. I will likely be in touch with you as I continue to craft this piece.

  2. I’m really glad I read this. I just started my student teaching last week in a local high school, and although it’s so exciting to be in a classroom again, all the hoops for my MAT program & for licensure just seem so overwhelming right now. This post was good timing for me. :) Keep writing wonderful posts & keep being an awesome teacher because those of us preservice teachers who flit around the blogosphere really do appreciate it!

I love comments!

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