September 07, 2010

16 Years Ago

He told me that he can't believe  he has completed more than 15 years in this education gig. It seems like just yesterday he attended his first professional development session about the Collins Writing Institute training in Vestaburg, Michigan. An older teacher turned to him and said, "Good to meet ya. Been here 33-1/3 years."

That guy just retired after last year with nearly 50 years in the system. That's a long time.

The "kid" was scared. He was nervous. He actually wondered if he had decided on the right career: English and journalism. In a small, rural Class D district on M–46. Everyone had heard of it or been through, but could tell you nothing about it.

The young teacher learned a lot that year, and for the next few. He wondered regularly if this were the right career. Some days were good, some bad. A few were even great. He was frustrated, though, because he was given a key and told good luck. That was the extent of the welcome. Most of the staff was veteran and not interested in a kid with new ideas and a different approach.

He would go on to be a young athletic director, young curriculum director, young principal, young superintendent ... Knowing that someday, he would no longer be the "young" one in the room. Sixteen years is like the crossing point between loving the rest of your career or hating it. How many teachers seem to lose the fire halfway through? I'm still geeked about education, every day is fun! I'm looking forward to another challenging year.

I just can't believe I've been doing this for so long … (of course, "back then," we started school in August and went until nearly the middle of June)

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