Whether you’ve been teaching a few months or a few decades,
you know how challenging it can be. Teaching has changed a great deal in the last thirty years. Long ago when I first entered college, students were counseled against going into teaching. “You’ll never find a job. Isn’t there a different major you’d like to consider?” one adviser asked solicitously. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t imagine going to college for any other reason. It was as if I were genetically destined to teach. I couldn’t fathom doing anything else. I ignored her advice and completed my degree. Fresh out of college I landed my first teaching job. It paid less than $10,000 a year. I felt like the luckiest person alive!
College freshmen are still asked to carefully consider their decision to become teachers. However, it’s for entirely different reasons. Loving children and having a knack for effective communication are no longer enough. Today’s teachers must hold specific licenses, pass background checks, and meet ongoing professional development requirements. Teachers must be able to use current technology, administer CPR, and calmly secure their classroom in a lock down situation. Each year brings more emphasis on behavior management, progress monitoring, state-mandated testing, parent communication, differentiation, and so much more.
The profession of teaching is dynamic. Teachers must constantly adapt. Just when educators begin to settle into a comfortable groove, a new idea comes along that turns everything up-side-down. Sometimes change is good, sometimes it’s an old idea wrapped in new buzz words, and sometimes it’s simply another phase to be endured. A lot of change comes from outside the classroom walls: administrators, board members, parent groups, legislators, and researchers. But the most significant changes comes from within ourselves. When teachers reflect on their own practices and seek ways to make their classroom a better learning environment, that’s the most enduring change of all.
I became a teacher because I felt an internal imperative. If you’re reading this I suspect you share my passion. I get frustrated, irritated, and worn down. Just when I begin to wonder why I ever chose this crazy job– it happens. You know what I’m talking about. Every now and then there’s a sudden flash of understanding. It’s as though a light switch went on. The student’s whole demeanor changes. What was out of reach is accessible. What was challenging is easy. What was frustrating is exciting. In that moment you know you’ve made a difference. And, ultimately that’s what teaching is really about.
Today’s teachers, both new and not-so-new to the profession, deserve support and appreciation. The job of teaching is harder than ever. But, the need is just as great. Yes, I make and sell teaching materials. But my ultimate goal with Lessons4Now is to make teaching a little easier– for myself and for anyone else who’s interested in sharing ideas. I want to save time, work smart, and be effective. If there’s a better way to do something, I hope others will share their ideas with me. And, if I discover something that might help another teacher, I’m happy to share it on Lessons4Now! I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around this blog and share your ideas. After all, we’re all in this together!