jungle_edge

I’ve Got Soul, But I’m Not a Soldier

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.

Jose VilsonI’ve Got Soul, But I’m Not a Soldier