I was thinking recently about how long it has been since I gradated. 3 years. For some of you that may sound like a short while, but for me it’s a lot longer than I expected to still not have a job teaching in my own classroom.
I am a certified elementary teacher. Basically, all that means is I have a degree to teach K-6 grades. Unfortunately, it has been a bit tougher than I thought. I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. I guess you could say it was a calling. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s the truth. I cannot wait to get my own classroom and my own class of students waiting for me to give them what they want and need: knowledge. Sometimes I feel that I am the only one that has a passion for being in the classroom. And yet, it seems so far out of my reach at times I feel I’ve chosen the wrong path. But, nevertheless, I keep going. I keep setting up interviews only to be told the position has already been filled by someone with more experience.
More experience? Okay. I can see how a teacher with more experience can be the better choice, but here is my dilemma. How can a new teacher ever gain experience if all the principals/employers are looking for teachers who already have years of experience in a classroom? I can substitute all I want and it will not count towards experience. I can be an educators assistant all I want and it will not count as teaching…even though I taught several lessons during that year because I had a teacher who understood the unfairness in the hiring process of new teachers. That is beside the point, but she was a wonderful teacher and she split her job of teaching with me because she felt I knew what I was doing and had faith in me that I could do a good job.
Perhaps more principals should give that a try. I’m not saying they should hire every new teacher with no experience they come across, but it would give people like me a little hope that I will one day teach in the classroom. I have experience. It may not be in having my own classroom, but I have worked hard to get to that point…only to be told that it is just out of my grasp because I don’t have the “right” experience. It is discouraging.
I am not writing this to put anyone down or to take a jab at principals. No, I’m writing this with the hopes that those of you who read this might realize the potential of a new teacher with little experience you interview. We are not terrible at what we do. For goodness sake, we spent four years in college, paying who knows what, in order to earn a degree to teach.
I don’t want to do this for the time off or pay. Anyone who is a good teacher will know those are not the perks of this job. I want to do this so I can make a difference in the kids of tomorrow. They are the ones that will be in charge when we get old. I want to know that I was able to show them a good role model and that I was able to give them the knowledge they need to succeed in life. I care about the kids I have worked with. They are more than just an empty space that needs to filled with a set curriculum. They are children. Waiting to be given a chance to soak up everything they can about something that interests them.
So, why not make every subject something they are interested in? I have a few ideas on how to do this. Stay tuned to find out.
*Media Image from blog Strange New Teacher: The Teacher’s Job Interview Oct. 2008.