This week began my 20th year of teaching. I am not sure how that feels. 20 years seems like a long time and yet I am still learning how to do this job. The life of a teacher should be continuous learning, right? Every new year brings us new students to learn from and learn with. Each of them bringing unique personalities, strengths, and challenges. In some ways, every start of a school year I am a new teacher. I am exhausted, but I am also becoming more comfortable. The challenges are different than those of year one. I am confident with my content knowledge (though that could always use improvement, too) and curriculum strategies. Many of the units will change or adjust, but the general content remains. I am more confident in making those adjustments as well. What I find most challenging these days, though, is the unexpected.
I have heard the students we are preparing for the future will have jobs we have not even imagined yet. We need to prepare them to think and problem solve as the problems are yet unknown as well. Twenty years ago, I did not know cell phones would become an issue in the classroom, let alone the influence of social media. These were unexpected challenges. But, we have adjusted in schools to problem solve those challenges. Twenty years ago, a global pandemic was not something I had prepared to experience, but we did. And, I am still here.
I am writing today because 20 years is a milestone. I do not have all the answers, nor am I a teaching guru, but I have made it this far and want to encourage all of you to keep going as well. It is a changing world, but it always has been. Change is scary, but from it we grow and learn and learn and grow.