If what you say in the beginning few paragraphs is true, how in holy hell did you get hired as a…
Mark Russell
11

Mark,

I appreciate your concern but, all things being equal, I think I’ll stick it out for a while. I think your comment speaks to some of the issues our current society as a whole faces; the idea of certification. You equated training with ability which, while they might have a high positive correlation, aren’t necessarily commiserate. The fact that I have not taken a course in how to lesson plan doesn’t mean I walk into my classroom totally unprepared as to the content we will cover that day, how that content is administered, or how the classroom is managed. Often times we are so focused on the qualifications someone has attained through the various classes they have taken as proof of their ability we assume no one could ever be competent at anything if they don’t have a certificate proving such. More often than not the teachers with the most experience who should, by logical standards, be the ones who are serving the kids best are the ones who are formulaic in their approaches, lose the kid’s interest almost instantly, and end up teaching the kids nothing. Looking at the state of our current educational system we must ask ourselves, are the approaches we are being taught whilst becoming teachers the most effective way to educate our current population? If we can’t answer that question with a resounding ‘Yes,’ then might what we be learning as effective teaching strategies be, potentially, misguided? If that is the case then what we are being given as pedagogical guidelines actually hurt our students? Essentially what you are saying is no one could ever effectively teach if they have not previously been exposed to the best practices of an institution that has, for the most part, let the people it is trying to serve down (the students) and I, wholeheartedly disagree with that sentiment. It is too formulaic for me. It is too cynical.

As for the sake of my students, I think they would agree that we have had quite the productive, enlightening year together. I was nominated for Beginning Teacher of the Year, the student’s test scores have consistently gone up, their writing has improved tremendously, their engagement in the class curriculum is outstanding, and, what’s more, they know a little bit more about life in general. At least that is my hope. AP scores come out in July but I will let you know how they fared in comparison to the other teachers across the country, but I like our chances. What’s more, a consistent theme I have heard echoed through they hear is I have been one of, if not the best, teacher these kids have ever had. (Their words, certainly not mine). Not because I went to 100 hours of PD last year, or because I have a Masters in Childhood Development but because I show up, every day, with enthusiasm, ready to teach and expecting the kids to learn.

So, for the time being, I will hang on the job that I absolutely love and continue to impact the next generation in a positive way. I suppose the students who walk into my classroom will have to suffer the consequences of me being their teachers as opposed to the history teacher down the hall who has been highly certified in their field and responds to every question they receive with ‘I don’t know, Google it.’

P.S. Of course I have been observed in a classroom setting by, not only my appraiser but my Campus Induction Coordinator, my Peer Mentor, and my ACP liaison. I am in the final stages of attaining my ACP teaching certificate and hold a Master’s Degree from Claremont Graduate University in the subject I am currently teaching so while I might not have the pedagogical background that some of my colleagues do I can teach the shit out of some History. If you are ever in town I’d love to have you sit in on a class.

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