Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sad Story

I'm not exactly getting the hang of this blogging thing. I believe you're supposed to post more than once a month!
So, walking home one Wednesday earlier this month, I ran in to aneighbor whose daugher went to school with mine. The daugher has bgun her first year teaching - a happy time because she has longed to be a teacher all her life.
And now, by early October, after being with her fifth graders for just over a month, she's already considered giving up her dream. After only a month.
Sure, starting a career for the first time in any job is daunthing but how many times have I heard of new teachers who want to throw up their hands and quit within the first few months? Starting in teaching must be very clearly the definition of disillusionment. The job is not what the new teacher dreamed it would be. And its challenges and pitfalls can be startlingly obvious in just a matter of days.
So what is it that so turns them off?
Maybe it is the pre-school meetings - one following another - that outlines task after task all to be completed over and above the job of covering curriculum and keeping order in the classroom. And thien, each meeting is followed with still more - and no time is set aside to complete the previously outlined task.
Perhaps it is the basic insecurity of facing a room of students and not feeling comfortable with pacing, timing, and effective teaching strategies.
Possibly the foremost disillusion,ment comes from being face to face witht he students who do not resemple the rows of attentive, loving students who have peopled the young teacher's imagination. No stragers to teachers, a student won't yeild his or her compliance until the new teacher has met eheir expectaitons - which include both competence and confidence - skills, that by their very nature, the average young teacher lacks.
Is there any other profession that serves up such a cold-water bath from its very first day? A medical intern, perhaps, but even they work alongside the pros on a daily basis before they are asked to face the inevitable life and death situations on their own.
The learning curve for a new teacher isn't even a curve. Its a straight vertical line that leads to either competence and confidence in short order or a destructive fireball so complete that it is evident to everyone involved.
This week we learned that our novice English teacher left, claiming never to return. Its been over a week and the rest of us have yet to hear from her.