Well, guys. I still want to work in education.
I’ll tell you about that another time. Long story short–yesterday I had one hell of an epiphany about my career. Last night I went and shopped my basement for teaching books.
Thank God I didn’t burn them like I’d once planned. I found most of them. Among the pile, I was happy to see one in particular: See Me After Class by Roxanna Elden.
This was the first authentic book on teaching that I’d ever read. The teaching-book landscape can be tough. Some volumes can seem polished to the point of stiffness. And don’t get me wrong. Those sort of books have their place.
Yet that’s not the only thing that new teachers need. When you’re in or out of the classroom and you feel like you’re losing your mind, you need a voice that can offer you perspective. You need someone who knows that classroom management issues don’t correct themselves as magically as they do in the movies.
I have a ton of other books, like Teaching to Transgress and When Kids Can’t Read. But I think Ms. Elden’s book is going to be the first one that I re-read as I get my mind back on track. Her work covers a variety of scenarios–dealing with colleagues, your “teacher” personality, marking assignments, etc. And of course, there are the myths. Have any of you teachers out there heard the phrase “don’t smile ’til Christmas”? (If you don’t work in education, you should know that some people advise teachers not to smile until before their first major holiday. No doubt, this is supposed to show students that we are serious professionals.)
If I followed that rule, my face would fall off.
See Me After Class offers readers a realistic look at teaching. I recommend it to anyone who’s new to the profession.