Thursday, 19 July 2012

Great work, guys!

At the end of my first ever month of teaching I remember reflecting on what a lonely occupation it seemed to be.
In spite of the 24 or so little people that I got to spend time with each day, and the occasional parent who popped in to help out with reading, or quick chats in the staffroom about the weather, I was surprised at how isolating teaching could feel.
At uni I was constantly engaged in conversations surrounding assignments, readings and lesson ideas. During my prac I had supervising teachers watching my every move and giving me feedback about what I was doing every step of the way.
When I got a "real job" I was left on my own, in my own little world, with no-one to watch what I was doing, ask me questions or give me advice. My principal dropped in one day not long after I started to say "G'day" but I wondered how he would know if I was doing a good job or not.
I was really surprised by the loneliness.
I was a new teacher eager to learn more from my more experienced colleagues but they didn't seem overly keen to discuss pedagogy or to share their great ideas.
I was in need of reassurance, suggestions, encouragement and inspiration, but I was teaching alone.
Doing relief teaching and short term contracts for my first few years turned out to be a great blessing since I got to go inside the secret caves of other teachers and glean ideas from things they had set up in their rooms, or from activities they had left for me to do.
Occasionally in my early years of teaching I was lucky enough to work alongside some great teachers who also seemed to think that teaching was something worth talking about, worth exploring, and worth trying to get better at... but for the most part I felt out of place since not many seemed to share my need to share.
Then came the blogging world, and Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and PLNs!
Suddenly I discovered that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't (so) crazy and that there were other teachers out there who are very dedicated to the profession.
Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou!
Thankyou to those of you who blog and share your great ideas. Thankyou to those who blog, Facebook, tweet and pin your thoughts, plans and aspirations.
Thankyou to those very brave souls who share their failures with others so that we can all realise that we are not alone, and so we can continue to learn together.
Suddenly I am not alone. Teaching is a community. Teachers are dedicated to their students and to ensuring that they keep learning themselves, always being challenged and always pushing the boundaries.
Great work, guys! You make me proud to be part of the profession!

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