I do see my job as an excellent gig. As many teachers stress through the first half of June counting days till graduation, my students and I are creating vegetable and flower gardens at the speed of sound. The summers I get paid to garden and cook. An excellent gig at an imperfect school. Sometimes while talking with Mosaic Woman I speak more of those imperfections than the joy that happens in my classroom.
As the years have moved on my part in that joy has grown and the wrath from my terseness has declined, but not been eliminated. so I am an imperfect teacher with a good gig at an imperfect school.
I could easily pass more of the tests that would certify me to teach science in public schools and leave special ed behind to search for a good gig elsewhere, but I am not one to think that jobs are perfect places and many have left to wonder why they left, except for the increase in pay and the state pension.
The enthusiasm for biology and geology has carried on through the first few weeks of school. I am doing more of what is expected of me as a teacher, and that almost always leads to better classes. I might be a bit of a character, and that may explain why even these special needs students enjoy my lectures. I had them laughing today as I was finally going over my classroom rules. Last year I was told all teachers should have rules posted so...
My rules include things such as: be hopeful, use anger to create positive solutions, be mindful, be joyful, leaves of three... leave them be, be compassionate to humans and plants... and feel free to wear good clothes, the dirt just might come out in the wash.
I was about to handout my first biology test the other day... I hate testing these guys and gals but I have been given the charge to teach the brightest and prepare them for college. Having them function in a classroom is the first step, passing science tests is not what all of them need at this point of their journey. And indeed one student chose to read the text instead.
So there I was with test in one hand and ringing my Tibetan prayer bowl to get their attention, when the not so unexpected anxiety attack came.
so I said this.... "In 11 years at this school I have only failed one student, and that was a horticulture student who was either throwing the potted plants to the ground or eating basil nonstop. Do you plan on doing anything like that?" They shake their heads. "So I will find a way for you to pass this class, trust me."
The student hit an easy question and moved on. Later he gave me a test with many blanks. I told him to set the test down, listen to his favorite tune on his I -Pod and then try to get something into blank spots. He got a B. On the day... one student in each class crashed and burned (later told that I could easily forget that grade if they and I learned from the experience and we became a better teacher and student) and a student in each class nearly aced what I had thrown at them. One expected, one a very pleasant surprise.