Yes, I'm one of the old teachers--old in age and old in experience. I'm thinking a lot about what that means these days as I enter the final chapter of my career. What is the responsibility and opportunity of this unique stage of teaching and learning?
Teacher as Grandmother
In many ways, I feel like a grandmother in the classroom. I want to be that loving, older teacher who reaches out to help the children in any way I can. I had that opportunity yesterday when I found a little girl crying in the hall. I asked her what was the matter, and she told me the story. I comforted her, and hopefully gave her the inspiration to move beyond the problem she faced. As a grandmother in the school, I want to be a comforter--one who helps the children in their times of need.
As an older staff member, I want to be there to elevate the voices and careers of my younger colleagues. I want to notice their good work and inspire their continued development when it comes to teaching and learning. I want to support their ideas and home-school balance too. I am not looking to be a leader, but instead I want to be a supporter of the wonderful, younger colleagues that surround me.
I want to end my career as a good teacher and do what I can to continue to learn in order to continue to develop my career in ways that matter, ways that help all students learn with strength, confidence, interest, and pride.
The last chapter of my career will likely be a chapter that equals about five to seven years, and I want that last chapter to be marked by excellence and support for students, families, and colleagues. This is a good focus.