The following video, which I came across in a teacher blog that’s new on my radar, Roxanna Elden describes her desire to be a “super teacher” when she first started teaching — a sentiment I can both relate to and have seen echoed both in media representations of these so-called “super teachers” and in the eyes of new, ambitious, and excited first-year teachers. Watch her video — for those of you who just started a new school year, I imagine these words will resonate strongly. They did with me.
[vimeo 43565010 w=400 h=300]
My favorite quote: “The great teachers of the future know they’re not great yet.” Acknowledging our weaknesses in ways that don’t pull us down into deep depressions but instead serve as learning tools is KEY. This is still true for me today, as I stare down a semester of teaching a course I’ve wanted to teach since I started my graduate career: English teaching methods for future teachers. I know I don’t have it all figured out yet. Since this is the first time I’m teaching the course, I know I have very little of anything figure out and will learn much in the coming semester. I spend a lot of time reflecting on the parts of my job and the aspects of my teaching that I feel are my greatest weaknesses. It’s part of the work of teaching. It’s what makes me get better. This truth holds regardless of discipline, level, or institution… good teaching is a practice in constant and sometimes painful self-reflection.
But it’s so easy, when you’re new to this profession, or even if you’re not but you have a bad day in the classroom, to beat yourself up about a failed interaction with a student, a failed opportunity to take advantage of a teaching moment, or a lesson plan that just plain flopped. Keeping in mind that what helps us grow is knowing that we’re not great, and that no teacher is great all the time, helps put these rough moments, these beginning-of-the-school-year anxieties, and these concerns about the skills and strategies we are still mastering to good use.
Best of luck to my teacher friends starting a new school year. May it be the best one yet 🙂