It was forty years ago, in August of 1977, that I was first given the reins of a class. I was twenty years old, and, even though I'd studied education in college, even though I'd babysat with children a thousand times, even though I'd worked with students while I was in high school...despite all those things, I knew nothing. Teaching is a hard job. Teaching is a craft. Teaching is something you learn on-the-job. Forty years later, and there are still days I make mistakes...I am a bit too strict for a sensitive group...a lesson goes a little long...I talk a little too much...or a story doesn't get the reaction I'd anticipated. Like I say, teaching is a hard job.
It's also the most satisfying job. All it takes is a smile from a student who spent the first week of school crying for his mom, an "I love books!" from a child, a moment of silence from a class while they think about a powerful story, and I put off retirement another year.
I've been blessed to have amazing fellow teachers to learn from, kind and helpful administrators, a budget that pays for most of the things I need, a clean and inviting environment, and parents who deeply care about their children.
Not all teachers are this fortunate. Here are some of their stories.
All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island
Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America's 45,000 Failing Public Schools
Educating Esme: A Diary of a Teacher's First Year
Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform
Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America
Rain School by James Romford
Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade
Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America
Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
Work Hard. Be Nice. How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America
The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York High School
Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher
Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder
Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have any recommendations for me of teaching stories that I have forgotten?
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!