Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teaching for Twenty-Six Years?

I've been a classroom teacher for twenty-six years.  I began as a single young woman who decided to get my master's in education and teach elementary school after working for a few years in business.  Now twenty-six years later, I'm the married mom of three sons.  A lot of life has happened in the past twenty-six years both in the classroom and outside of it.

Thanks to the onset of technology, response to intervention, project base learning, inclusion and so many other great initiatives, I'm still very excited about the work I do as an elementary school teacher, and I also continue to believe that the work we do as educators is work that makes a positive difference in our communities, country and world.

Looking down the road, I've got another ten-fifteen years of teaching to go.  I want the final leg of my teaching career to be the best chapter.  When you've been in the same system for such a long time, it can be difficult to get a broad focus and outlook on your career.  Hence, I'd like some advice.

As a teacher, assistant, student or administrator, what advice do you have for the professional development and work of a teacher at the final third of his/her career? As a new teacher, who do you want those veteran teachers to be?  Students and parents, what do you hope for from veteran teachers?  And retirees and veteran teachers, what routines, practices and mindset do you recommend for veteran professionals?

Asking these questions publicly is a bit daunting, particularly since veteran teachers have received criticism and ridicule recently in news articles and public debate. So please post your thoughts with respect, care and the knowledge that this is your chance to inspire one veteran teacher, and perhaps many more.