Wait A Minute. I’ve Already Graduated!

I’ve been teaching long enough to be called a veteran, though I’m still sometimes seen as the new kid.  That may take some explaining to fully understand. We have a staff that is truly experienced. The longest serving teachers have been working for a bit more than 30 years. The newest have only been teaching for a dozen of so. I’m in the middle range with 17 years.


This year is my first year teaching Sixth Grade. It’s been a wonderful move for me, hard, but positive in many ways. I’ve taught many of these students before as Fourth Graders. That’s always a good thing. It seems to speed up the “getting to know you stage” and we’re able to move into more meaty learning earlier in the school year.

My teaching partners are wonderful colleagues. We have departmentalized our curriculum in Sixth Grade. I teach Social Science and Science. The other two teach Language Arts and Math. What I’m realizing is that the students are getting a very strong set of lessons. I am afforded the opportunity to spend my planning effort on one curricular area instead of all of them. Consequently, the lessons are top notch, interesting, varied and powerful. Even that is an understatement. There is no way I could plan, prepare and teach the same quality of lessons for all subject matter without, quite literally, working 12 hours a day. For that, thank you Miss and Sue!

I’ve taught first through sixth grade, but the bulk of my experience is in third and fourth grades. This year the learning curve is pretty steep once again. Sixth Grade has its challenges as any grade does. I like to think I’ve seen it all and there’s little that I haven’t experienced in the classroom. The truth is being a teacher is also one part being a student. As I’m surprised by something, fail to anticipate an obvious error, make a poor instructional choice, or  do something else that is not best practice with this level, I learn all over again. It’s not like the first few years when I expected the credential police to remove me from the classroom because I was unqualified. It’s a feeling that reinforces learning as a positive force in my life and leaves me with a satisfaction both as a teacher and as a student of teaching.

A wonderfully demanding profession, teaching is. It’s interesting, it’s challenging and it’s rewarding, and, it’s not a place where only the student learns.

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