Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Doggie Paddling Across the Atlantic Ocean: An Allegory for First Year of Teaching

That's what first-year teaching is: doggie paddling across the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm mainly concerned with keeping my head above water and breathing. And focusing on those two is really all I can handle. But sometimes I take a peek at the other swimmers. When I see the teacher-equivalents of Michael Phelps, I desperately and self-consciously try to learn butterfly. #disaster

Discovering that learning butterfly while immersed in the Atlantic Ocean is foolish and impossible, I aim to learn backstroke instead. My technique is terrible. So I desperately attempt freestyle. Okay. Freestyle might work. Nope, back to doggie paddle. #ohwell #betterlucknexttime

I started teaching third grade full-time at Sleepy Hollow Elementary in Fairfax County in January. I am continually observing, learning, and trying new techniques to get me (and the kids) to other side of the pond. Every teacher needs to know all the strokes to be an exceptional educator. But I have also found that using common sense and intuition is sometimes more valuable than desperately trying to mimic other swimmers. And developing great relationships with the children is the engine that powers us across the pond.