The Teacher I Hope to Become

If I were to focus on this first year of teaching, and in particular, my first year after a career switch to teaching, I would define the following success metrics and avoidable pitfalls.

A continual focus on the calling or the vocation in the job will help me keep the right attitude and help me be successful.  In particular, to help just one student to feel more capable or demonstrate more confidence in math and science will be worth it, especially to that one student.

Another concept that I would like to keep in front of me is the adventure of inquiry, the joy of shared understanding.  I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with “old friends” in math, science, engineering and technology.  I am looking forward to introducing my students to my “old friends” and hoping that they start up a relationship.  This is most invigorating for me, to see an equation re-derived, or to observe a law re-verified by experiment, and to be able to share that with others.

As my last success metric, it will help me to meditate on the human aspect that is fundamental to all education.  It is about relationship.  It is about mutual respect.  It is about remembering that all can learn, that all can achieve, that all want to be better.  It is about connecting incarnationally before trying to transfer knowledge.  My experience in technology has tended to stress that it is what you know and not who you know or how well you are known by others.

Next, the pitfalls I would like to avoid in the coming year are about attitude and response.  I am impatient by nature, and that is not a trait that is highly valued or linked to success in teaching.  I need to forge that impatience into a love of the process and the “journey” instead of the goal.

Lastly I would like to avoid the response that tends to see effort as black or white,  To find improvement in all effort, and not to categorize immediately as right or wrong.  Education is about process, it is about adding to proficiency and not fully realizing mastery overnight.  I need to be better at noticing the incremental progress and not expect immediate comprehension or fluency.

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