Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am surrounded by greatness, but supported in my weakness

I walk into the Language Arts office at Arapahoe High School for another day of teaching and notice that I am one of the first ones there. Not completely unusual, but it just hits me again – Why am I here so early? Then I think, “That’s right. I am a student teacher and I need to make sure that my PowerPoints are posted on the class website, that I respond to parent and other teacher e-mails, and that I get my copies back from the copy room.” I am not like the amazing teachers in my department that can come in and grab their materials and go teach. They are amazing, truly great master teachers – every one of them, but then again they have years of experience on me. I just want to say that even though I get there early and stay late at night these great teachers around me are totally there for me every step of the way.

Many of them have opened up their classrooms to have me come watch, have held conversations with me in the back room, and have joked with me in the hall and before class. These teachers are great, and in my weaknesses and lack of experience they have supported me. They have shown me crazy parent and teacher e-mails, and as a department they have included me in on meetings before and after school, and they have taken me in under their wing - To the point that I feel that I can go to any of them comfortably for support and ideas in a time of need. The cool part is that I often do. They are there and we are there to work together. I share what I am doing in the classroom and they often come back with some ideas from their own classrooms.

It was also really fun when on Thursday I was being given a really hard time that I had apparently stolen someone’s stapler from the office. Usually it is one of the male teachers that get on my case for something small, but that is usually how far it goes. This time a departmental e-mail startedabout me behind my back (see I do not receive departmental e-mails). It got to a point where everyone in the office was giving me a hard time about this missing stapler that I did not steal. Someone put it on my desk while I was teaching. It even got to the point where the co-department chair had to come over and give me a stern talking to. Wow, what a hoot – the whole time I was defending that I did not steal the stapler. Then I had to go to class. When I returned I had sticky notes from almost every teacher in the department asking me to give them back something that I had apparently stolen from them. They ranged from the very serious to my favorite: “a fourth grade girlfriend.” Anyway, it brought a smile to my face when I got back from class.

Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, loosely wrote “When people stop criticizing and giving you a hard time, they stop caring about you.” Well, I am confident in saying that in my weakness of a student teacher, not always having everything planned and ready to go, that I am surrounded by greatness – and the staff in my department let me know that. They truly care about what is going on in my classroom and what is going on with me. The sticky notes and the stapler incident let me know that for sure. It has been an absolute pleasure teaching in this awesome department and knowing that I am for sure I am surrounded by greatness, but supported in my weakness. Thank you Language Arts staff…now who has my tape dispenser?