I’ve been an educator since 1975, spending 37 years in the city of Philadelphia’s public school system. I’d wanted to be a teacher since 7th grade, when my Math/Science/Homeroom teacher showed me you could be funny, cool, and at the same time, earn the respect of the 60 teenagers sitting before you. Believe me, our class was not easy, but we worked hard all year to show Sister Frances that we could be good students.
When I went to high school, I joined the Community Service Corps and learned a bit about teaching and the challenges the kids presented. Playing Big Sister to a little sister from another neighborhood, tutoring after school in inner city, doing arts and crafts and music in the summer with kids of all ages certainly helped to prepare me to be a good teacher.
In college, I went to a great school that offered practical applications every semester to come in con act with kids. We observed kindergarten and nursery school classes, tutored individual kids in math, helped out in the reading lab by diagnosing problems and prescribing activities to help them read. We taught language arts to an intermediate grade once a week. Learned about the new science programs being developed for elementary students by getting “down and dirty” with the kits.
Despite all these experiences and a desire to help young minds develop and learn, when I spent the first year out of school subbing, I discovered there was so much more I needed to know than what I learned in school. Subbing was a solitary job, never staying anywhere too long. At least not long enough that you could get to know other teachers and pick their brains.
When I was finally hired, I was lucky enough to teach in a school where the other teachers were eager to share and help out the newbie. The Kindergarten teacher took me under her wing, even taking me home with her to show me what she used to plan with. When I taught Science and had to teach kids from Pre-K to 6th grade, the teachers in the adjoining rooms helped me keep order and gave me great advice. I’ve been helped in all my assignments by colleagues willing to share their expertise with me so I could become a better teacher.
I found the Educator’s Room (http://www.theeducatorsroom.com )one day by accident when someone I knew shared the link to an article on Special Ed. What a wonderful group I stumbled into! Here were teachers all over the country willing to share what they knew to make someone’s job easier, or to express an opinion that needed to be expressed. Although I have not agreed with all of the articles posted on The Educators Room website, I can say that I welcomed hearing from others in order to get better at my art. I’ve even had a couple of my essays featured there.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to attend The Educator’s Room conference in Atlanta, June 25th to 27th. The theme is “Empowering Teachers as the Experts.” I am hoping that this will give me an opportunity to learn more and share my expertise with other teachers united to learn. The best professional development is that which is chosen by the teacher and readily used, It’s exciting to see the workshop offerings and try to pick a limited number of sessions to attend. I can’t wait to spend three days with like-minded teachers who know that learning never stops, even when you’re the teacher! Check out The Educator’s Room on Twitter #theedconf and on Facebook, and consider joining us at the conference! Details here - http://conference.theeducatorsroom.com/