Blog Post

Teaching Expiration Date?

With all that is going on now it is hard to keep up. Some days I totally want to unplug and I do. Other days I am hooked on the T.V. watching the news. We are living in a time of paradoxes. There is so little and so much going on at the same time. For the most part, we are shelter-in-place. We rarely go outside. A lot of people in California are not wearing mask. I am mindful when doing the dishes. Quiet moments. Extenstialism.

So much is being redefined. For a long time know, I felt like I was suppose to do something really big in education, but perhaps it is in the mundane nuisances that I am to share a story. My story of teaching. I am trying to write a little bit each week. I am also going through my teaching boxes, which is hard. For many years, I have collected children's books, Each book has a memory of the children I used to read them too. I suppose they are my children in a way.  

Lately, I've been thinking more about children, purpose, legacy, and life cycle. My undergrad is in psychology and Erick Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development could be a framework to to encapsulate my thoughts. Generativity vs. Stagnation more specifically. It is the stage in which adults seek to create things that will outlast them. Generativity is making your mark so to speak. It is finding ways to contribute to help make the world a better place.Lately, I've been wondering about those sorts of things, trying to find more purpose. I have struggled with fertility issues that are too painful to write about publicly, but that is at the center of my heart as well.

As teachers, we often hide our struggles and heartaches. We move forward in time.

With that, I still get updates from the school district I used to work at. The union said that there will be a $4000 incentive if teachers retire early. I think of the veteran teachers who were on the Zoom calls with me at the end of last school year. Some of the teachers shared tears as they talked about both learning new technologies and also potentially returning in the fall.

I think of our older teachers and how important they are. When I first started teaching in 2003, there were many more older teachers. We learned so much from them. However, I don't see too many older teachers anymore and that is unfortunate because with time often comes wisdom.

I remember when I lived in Boston. I used to sneak into the classes at Harvard U. I applied but didn't' get into HGSE. But I still had fun exploring their libraries and sneaking into classes pretending like I belonged there. When called upon in class, I would answer gladly. For a moment, I belonged. I could contribute to the conversation. Along the way, I remember one of the professors saying who also worked with Dr. Howard Gardner in Project Zero that people usually don't gain mastery over a skill until they have done in for at least 10 years. With such a high turn over in PK-2 teaching, How many teachers even have 10 years experience anymore? Is there an expiration to teaching in public schools? How can we honor and learn from the legacies of teachers who have come before us?


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