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Friday, May 8, 2015

The moment I realized I was no longer the new kid on the block

Over a decade ago I began a career in teaching . The first year flew by. The only true memory I own of year one was the moment I looked at the children in the hallways, and started panicking. For a few minutes my mind reeled and said What are doing? Get out? Go home? Look at these kids? See that disrespectful one? I was about to head through my door, grab my purse and leave forever. The teacher next door spoke to me and I snapped out of my panic attack. 

I worked with a lot of old school teachers who had taught for decades. They seemed so confident in their skills as I floundered with mine. I longed to walk into my classroom and see obedient children who learned instead of goofballs who avoided learning. How do they do it? I asked myself that question at least a million times within my first two years of teaching.

At meetings they discussed all the remember whens... Of course I remembered none since I wasn't around when they happened. At the time I hoped for those memories as their descriptions were hilarious. The teachers I worked with weren't only old school but vibrant and colorful.

The memories and skills sneak up slowly. Like when I see my grown students at the liquor store ringing up my bottle of wine, or at the mall, or beauty shop. Suddenly I'm the one with the remember whens.How did that happen? When did that happen?

Suddenly new teachers are saying, "How do you get your kids to sit down and work?"
"How can you be that far in the curriculum already?"
"You run a tight ship."
"Johnny is an ass in my class. How come he's not an ass in yours?"

Suddenly I've been teaching longer than anyone else in my department? Where did the time go? Then 12 years of teaching rush swirling into an epiphany. I'm no longer the new kid on the block!

This realization happens when a student innocently says, "Next year you may teach... " Ahh! Brothers, sisters, cousins, friends. Next it will be children of my students then grandchildren. 

I panic but this time I consider I want to be the new kid again. The one with everything to learn, maybe it's time to seek a new career or mentor teachers instead of teach students. Either way I realize it's time to make a life-altering career changing decision. 

Life works that way. When we're young it's all fresh and new and heck we know it all. Then we grow up and realize we really knew nothing and should have maybe listened to our elders. Hmm... just a thought.

Life flies by faster then we know it or want it.


  1. I remember my first years as a veterinarian. How I wished to be 5 or 10 years out, like those I worked with who seemed to know everything. Now, more then 15 years out (YIKES!) I realize you never know everything, but things do get easier. Nice writeup!