Coudy memories in my mind that rarely surface–my first few years as a teacher. With all the changes in teaching and life, rarely do I think back to my windowless lemon yellow walls of 1995, my first year as a teacher.
The other morning when I awoke thinking that I had just gotten a great big hug of support from my ILT from 1995, I was confused. My instructional lead teacher from my fist job, Beverly, whom I haven’t seen since 1998, entered my dream at my current school, we rushed down the hall to greet each other, and we gave each other a long hug.
Since I’m not a hugger and since Beverly doesn’t roam my halls, I was baffled. Initially, I thought it was a sort of hug of mutual support saying, “I’m still here,” but after awhile, I thought about my first years working with Beverly and knew there was more for me in this subconscious encounter.
Beverly had about 20 years in the teaching profession when I first met her. I am in my 20th year now. I am not an ILT like she was; however, I am a teacher leader. Perhaps the dream hug from Beverly should remind me of the person she was for me when I began teaching. Perhaps in this era of data, differentiation, TKES, CC , high stakes, and new initiatives I am forgetting to be to others what Beverly was to me.
Perhaps the hug I woke up to is a sort of wake up call to me. Here is my takeaway thinking of the “hugs” I received from Beverly:
Build on the good. Thinking back to my first few years teaching, I had a lot to work on, but Beverly helped build on the good in me. Her push was always positive and encouraging.
Be hopeful. Beverly was not a naysayer. She wasn’t a cynical veteran poopooojg the system. She was grounded but looking forward.
Be in the present moment. Beverly didn’t spend time talking about the way things were in the good old days. She was present in the present moment.
Remember the little things that make people happy. Beverly had a bowl of candy on her desk. I used to grab a piece when I walked by. Once I sighed that there were no Werther’s. After that day, she made a point to stock my favorite.
Anticipate and ask. Beverly paid attention to what her teachers wanted and needed. Our new teacher meetings and our grade level meetings focused on what we wanted and needed. She anticipated our needs, and she delivered.
I looked Beverly up. She is still teaching–she is teaching teachers at the college level. My goodness. She has over 40 years in, and she is still welcoming teachers to our field. Yes, the landscape is different now, and the stakes are higher. Still, though, people are still people, and teaching is still teaching. Each day I make the choice to teach. As long as I choose this, I should remember and apply all that has helped guide me through my years of teaching as a sort of moral and pedagogical compass.