Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Thank You Isn't Enough

School ended two weeks ago, yet I found myself back in the classroom on Monday for a full day. I had been telling friends that I was attending Boot Camp, and they all looked at me like I had started speaking in tongues or something. "Boot Camp? Like push-ups and that shit and people screaming at you?" After explaining that it was a technology boot camp and we would be learning new educational technology implementation strategies and pretending not to notice when they yawned at the second word of that explanation, I started telling people that I was taking a summer class . . . because that didn't require any further words since I have always been a learner first and a teacher second. Put any nonfiction book in front of me, and I'll read it . . . and then tell you about it. See? Learner, teacher.

I think I've wanted to be a teacher my entire life. Sure, I wanted to be a nun for a year (stop laughing), but my first few teachers were all nuns. Then, after our sister Bridget was born premature, I wanted to be a neonatologist for the longest time . . . but honestly, I should have pursued teaching from the word go. It would have saved me years of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I would have had an excuse for all the bookwormish behavior that I exhibit. Teaching was such a logical fit, but god, did I fight it for a long, long time. 

Summer Learning

When the Girls entered kindergarten, I helped out at their school as much as I could and met so many dedicated teachers. They didn't ask for a lot, save maybe some books or left over craft supplies, but they changed more lives than they could ever know. I credit them with pushing me into the teaching profession. Later, when I worked as an instructional aide, the teachers with whom I worked on a daily basis provided more help, support, and knowledge than I ever learned in my coursework. I credit them with giving me the confidence and tools necessary to survive in a middle school. Now, as a teacher, I have the privilege of working with people who put kids first and everything else second. They willingly come in on a gorgeous summer day to learn new techniques because they want the best for their students. They put whatever politics are going around about teaching aside in favor of educating the kids sitting in front of them. I credit them with keeping me fresh, giving our students 110%, and never accepting that "good" is "good enough."

Teaching is in the news these days and not for the best of reasons. Teachers are greedy; they're overpaid; we only work ten months a year; if you can do, and if you can't teach . . . dare I continue? There has been a huge upsurge in homeschooling and cyberschooling recently, and I totally get why people would choose to go that route . . . honestly, I do. I can't read the paper without looking at some piece on how cutting education is our only hope for financial solvency. In a district about 20 miles from here, they cut 72 jobs, including all of their technology positions. Think about it. You use a computer and the Internet and so do your kids . . . who do you think knows more? In the past three days, I've learned more about technology integration than I had during most of the previous school year (I also learned I still hate group work, but that is a post for another time). Without a technology coach, I would be lost and floundering. I credit them with pushing me to be better than I ever could hope to be, helping when I am pretty sure that things have gone pear shaped.

- Jill,

PS - Clearly, I was creatively brain dead after this week . . . but I did sign up for Picture Summer  so maybe there is hope for me yet.


  1. I am proud of you. Only you can do the great job you are doing. and I thought Erika was going to be the teacher. Remember how she would teach her dolls for hours. You are do dedicated. Makes me proud. Mom

  2. Jill,
    I work for a school district and in the Technology dept. They recently came thru and chopped our department in half (IN HALF). I am just waiting to see what happens in the fall when schools start to fill again and the people that helped keep things running smoothly behind the scenes aren't there.
    As a daughter of a teacher, I know how hard you all work. I know that the pay isn't fantastic, and yes you might get 'summer off' but you don't get paid for that time off and so many of you use that time to keep educating yourselves. Teachers are so important. It makes me sad to think how little our culture values you all.

    so thank you- even though those words aren't enough....

  3. i've had a crush on clive owen since i was 15! i haven't seen him for ages! x.

  4. It really makes me sad that schools are cutting so much out of their budget. My former high school got rid of numerous teachers, some who had been there for over 10 years, and the radio station which has been there for over 35 years. Some of my favorite teachers and people are out of jobs now because they don't have the money. And for my 4 years of high school, I LIVED at that radio station. If they would've let me sleep there, I would've. It really, really saddens me that the education system is going down the drain. Creating stupid people won't help the stupidity that's already out there...

  5. Our district hasn't made any real cuts, yet, but they didn't hire any new teachers to replace those retiring. All of our moves were based upon this assumption. I get that things are tight, but you really can't move forward as a society by cutting education. I have the utmost respect for our tech department since they are working with probably a more diverse group of learners than our teachers . . . since they train the teachers.