Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Born to Teach

(I love this picture because in a way it is kind of like a real class.  You have the horse sitting up and attending the teacher while the little black cat is turned to face his "friend."  Then the horse closest to the left is face down.)
Today, when I arrived at school, I was beginning to set up to teach my class when something very surprising happened! A lady from our county's central office came walking through the door.  I didn't know her at first.  Yet, when she introduced herself to me, I knew exactly who she was and I was NERVOUS.  Our county's reading specialist was in to observe me by surprise.  Yikes! The thing of it was that I was technically supposed to be teaching this reading class that I am doing with another teacher because I was never formally trained in their reading program.  However, when the other teacher (who was actually trained) began working with me, it just so happened that I did much better with the program without any training at all.  So, she let me just take it over.  We were working fine that way.

Well, the only issue is that we weren't technically SUPPOSED to be doing that.  BUUUT it didn't make any sense for her to teach it and me to sit back and watch when I was having an easier time with it than she was.  So, needless to say, I was sufficiently freaked out when this woman walked through my door.  I just knew I was dead in the water.  

And, of course, to throw another curve ball into the mix, I have some children whose special needs make it difficult for them to adapt to any change of any kind.  So, they were not as responsive to my teaching this morning as they would have been had she not been in there.  They did not like having a lady in there watching them, and they were very nervous and resistant to say anything.  I had to really pull them out of their shells to get them to say anything.

Well, at the end of the session, the reading specialist and I sat down together to discuss what she saw.  Her first words were, "I cannot believe how well you are doing! Are you sure you haven't had any training?" I replied, "Nope, I haven't had any training at all.  I just picked it up." Her face was glowing and her eyes were beaming as if she had just hit a gold mine.  She told me that I have perfect classroom management, a great relationship with the children, and a natural ability to teach.  Of course, this made my morning.  In addition to all of that, she said that their county needs me, and that she hopes I will be around next year.  Then, she followed that up with, "Only in my life have I ever seen one other teacher with your abilities."  I'll tell you that I was on cloud nine.  She then went and told the principal and the assistant principal how happy she was with me as I was informed by the assistant principal.  She could not believe I was only in my third year because she said I seemed like I'd been doing this all my life.

Now, I know that all of those things sound like I am bragging.  The thing is that I had all but lost my faith in my abilities as a teacher around this time last year.  I worked with a teacher who did not agree with me on my methods of teaching, and I had honestly been ganged up on by a few people because of her.  She didn't like me because I pushed hard to make sure that we were taking our time to challenge all students and not sitting pretty on "ideas" that didn't work in reality.

I just had to hope and pray that, in due time and a new opportunity, the truth about who I am as a teacher would rise to the surface.  At the first school where I worked here, I was given tons of encouragement and support.  The excellent part of that was that there were video cameras in our rooms.  So, the things I did on a daily basis were seen AND heard by the administration all the time.  They saw me for who I was.  I switched jobs mostly because I needed to make some more money and I wanted the opportunity to be a reading teacher.  Now, at this new school, I have received one good observation from my assistant principal who came in on me by surprise a few weeks ago.  And now, I have a glowing review from the reading specialist who came in on me by surprise today.

All of these things can clearly counteract any falsehoods that were told about me.  I am so thankful that harsh and dishonest words about me have been defeated by other people's obvious random and unplanned observations.

I am so happy to feel like there is support behind me now and I feel invigorated to teach now.  I was told today that I was born to teach.  And I am starting to once again feel as though that is the truth.  

In the end, sometimes we won't go where God needs us to go unless we are forced in that direction.  If I hadn't been forced this way, I wouldn't have been given these opportunities.  I am counting my blessings.