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.
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?