jungle_edge

I’ve Got Soul, But I’m Not a Soldier

Jose 12 Comments

It’s around this time of year that have to re-remember how to be Mr. Vilson and no longer Jose. This summer’s been great, and I’ve had many a revelation through this summer personally and professionally. I’ve rested, I’ve breathed, I’ve read, I’ve written, I’ve learned, I’ve loved, and I’ve lived. And now, I’m almost ready to face those children again. It’s a moment of truth, and I’m starting to feel it. But I’m just not ready yet. I’m already reading blog after blog from teachers already getting prepared for the coming year with lesson plans, seating plans, grading policies, and syllabi ready to roll. I, on the other hand, have had far too much fun this summer.

With all that said, I had a conversation with my lady yesterday (who is on a whole ‘nother level when it comes to education) and she zeroed in on what makes a good and effective teacher. And after that discussion, I realized that, yes, I think I’m ready. I’m motivated, I’m committed, and I’m going to be ready. Believe it or not, I do have these awesome moments of self-doubt where my cynicism reflects back onto me, and it keeps me humble enough to keep me focused on my ultimate goal, and she’s often been the one to bring me back to that focus lately.

I’m going to go to my classroom a couple of days before we officially have to be there. I’m going to have my letter to the parents ready, and I’m going to have a list of my kids’ phone numbers so I can call their parents from the jump. I’m going to get even more familiar with my co-teachers on the floor, and I’m going to have the first week of lesson plans ready. I’m going to get organized, and have my classroom 80% set up by the time the students enter into my classroom. With my new added responsibilities, I need to keep a proper perspective.

Teaching is a calling and a profession at once. It’s not enough for me to just love what I do but work hard for it as well. Personally, the most effective teachers I’ve seen keep a good distance so teachers are not percieved as the students’ friend, but give enough of their person where the students look at the teacher in high regard, irrespective of whether the student failed or passed in the class. It was probably my biggest strength my first two years, and a quality I somewhat lost my third year. As passionate as I was with my students, I also lacked the understanding of going from “new teacher” to “veteran teacher” in the school.

For the next year, I repledge my efforts to those causes. More than anything, this summer has given me time to replenish. For, when all is lost, the battle is won with all these things that I’ve done …

jose, who recently took on yet another project … yes, I’m a madman …

p.s. – Bellringers put out the 185th Carnival of Education :-).

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 12

  1. The Jaded NYer

    Man, you ALMOST made me miss teaching kids… ALMOST!!!

    If I ever step in a classroom again, I’m hoping it will be in front of a college crowd, because the under 18 bunch requires a special breed of human that *I* am not.

    So I applaud you and your colleagues, because I know for a fact, because I tried it, that I could not do what you do. At least not well and with love and dedication for it.

    The Jaded NYers last blog post..Re-evaluating Priorities

  2. Jeff Wasserman

    Yep…spent all day today in some optional smartboard training (we’ve got one in the room I share now) and room rearrangement. Am I ready to start on Monday? No. Will I be? No idea, but it always works out.

    Good luck…

  3. Frumteacher

    It’s the blissful summer memories that keep me inspired now that I’m back in front of the blackboard. It amazes me to feel that I’ve grown as a teacher, not just during the past year but also over the summer. It sounds like you are really prepared to go back to school. Enjoy your last days of summer!

    Frumteachers last blog post..Coffee break

  4. Roxanne

    Best wishes for another school year and kudos to doing who of the most challenging jobs on earth and doing it well! It’s too bad our government doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate its teachers as much as they should. It seems like you really are following your calling. Keep up the good work, believe in what you are doing and continue to think positively.

  5. luzmaria3

    Our profession is not an easy one but I find it to be very rewarding. The summer weeks that we have off are necessary for us to regroup, reflect, spend time with our loved ones, and recharge our batteries. Every teacher prepares differently for the beginning of the year creating their own style. I have had the pleasure of watching you evolve from a new teacher to a “veteran” teacher and can say that you have “it.” The trials and tribulations you had in your third year are part of the metamorphosis we go through and it helps us define the educator we will be in the long run. Mr. Vilson, you are more than ready to be an effective educator and help transform your school. Keep up the good work!!! I am glad that your girl can help you stay focused on your task at hand.

  6. Jackie

    Nice post. I always doubt myself and get nervous around this time. Yes, I get excited too, and I am confident in myself, but I just always question myself..am I doing enough? Am I an effective teacher?

    So your third year was tough? This will be my third! Anyway, good luck. I’m sure you’ll have a great year. :)

  7. Tracy Rosen

    @Jeff – amazing how it always does come together isn’t it?

    I’m in that place too. Was in a bit last week, getting to know the new surroundings. I’ve got 4 days of personal and professional prep next week and then it’ll all come together for the 2nd, when I meet my kids.

    Have fun becoming a veteran Jose, and remember – it’s always new, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..Pick it up

  8. Hugh O'Donnell

    Like luzmaria3 said, “…you have it.”

    I particularly like your take on social distance maintenance. In my “veteran years” I called it mutual respect. And as you mentioned, respect for all.

    One nice thing about treating kids with respect is that we have more energy to put into creative teaching cuz the hassles are few and far between. :)

    Hugh O’Donnells last blog post..What’s the Dif?

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