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The spring edition of the Visions & Revisions newsletter is now available. Please visit the Publications page of the website for access.
*Image retrieved from Google Images
My first year of teaching, I looked into the bare classroom (the teacher who occupied the room before me had stripped the walls and taken pretty much everything there was to take) and wondered what I had gotten myself into. As great as my teacher education program had been, it had failed to prepare me 100% for the realities of teaching. I knew how to create lesson plans, plan projects, and average grades; to seek out a mentor for advice; and to avoid the teacher’s lounge (advice from my university supervisor). Fortunately, I also knew enough to know that what knowledge I had only touched the tip of the iceberg when it came to the profession of teaching. I had no idea, for example, how to deal with apathetic teachers (unfortunately, they did and do exist), students (they too are real), or their parents.
Fast becoming disillusioned with my career choice, a trusted advisor suggested I join a professional organization. Taking his advice, I did just that and discovered a support system, a sounding board, and friends who sympathized and empathized with my successes and failures. The veteran teachers who were members of the organization had my back, so to speak. They listened when I needed them to and offered suggestions and constructive criticisms when warranted. The organization sponsored an annual conference, produced a journal, and offered awards to those in the field of teaching. I learned not only more about the teaching of English but also more about myself as an educator.
The most profound lessons I took from that very first membership was that Rome wasn’t built in a day, that it’s okay to fail so long as I keep trying, that students are people, and that it’s smart to keep chocolate hidden in my desk drawer. Now, some 22 years later, I still have chocolate on-hand, try not to build Rome in one day (this one is hard but I’m trying), recognize that the people who populate my classes are people, and, finally, I evaluate my failures and try to treat them as growth areas. As for that first professional membership, I’m still a member.
Won’t you join me by becoming a member of TCTE? I promise that you won’t be disappointed! See the membership page of this website for more information.
Changing the world, changing the classroom . . . . one day at a time with some great chocolate.
The 2013 TCTE conference theme is The Graffiti of My Life: Exploring the Interconnectedness of the English Language Arts. The theme will examine how all aspects of ELA, from reading and writing to speaking and listening, to technology integration to Common Core requirements, are integrated into the curriculum. Focal areas, among others, will address assessment practicies and practical classroom implementation ideas. It will be held at the Sevierville Convention Center, located adjacent to the Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort. The conference date has been set for September 27-28. Please check the Annual Conference page of the website for more information.