In praise of young teachers
Young teachers are amazing human beings! Headlong they rush into the multitude of moments that mark the first few years of teaching — evaluations, parent–teacher interviews, report cards, successful lessons, students they just can’t seem to help but won’t give up on, late nights spent marking and planning, and transforming a random room into their first classroom.
They’re surprised that the days go by so fast, though there are those lessons and classes that can last so long. Before they know it, the weekend is here again, then Christmas, spring break and soon the push towards year end, with finals and professional evaluations. At last, it’s blessed summer break, soon followed by mid-August and the knowledge that it all begins again.
All the stages and lessons that a young teacher experiences during the first years of their career are accompanied by a wondrous, ongoing dialogue that I’m honoured to witness and often be a part of. I delight in and relive these moments with them. Their energy and optimism reminds me of myself — both then and now!
However, despite their knowledge and enthusiasm, young teachers don’t quite have all the answers yet, and I’m proud to be there to help with as many questions as I can. I don’t know it all yet either, but having taught for over 30 years, I know a fair amount — especially about how to get from there to here and still love what I do every day (and hope to continue doing for a number of years yet).
Also, through our collaborations, I hope they’ll glimpse a long-term vision of their career and see that, even after having engaged in this challenging profession for 20 or 30 years, there’s still much joy to be experienced, as well as pride in having done well at the most difficult and rewarding job there is.
In the final consideration, it’s in the belief, strength and optimism of our vibrant young charges that the future of our profession rests. We must nurture them, guide them, pick them up when they have one of those days, and celebrate with them when they reach those contract and long-service milestones we veterans take for granted. In that way, we’ll continue to mutually inspire each other in amazing ways for years to come, to the betterment of our profession.
Special to the ATA NewsRay Suchow teaches computer science and religious studies at Christ The King Secondary School in Leduc.
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