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Our Work Is Never Over

Jose 1 Comment

Let this be known now, my people. This blog will still be journaling the daily happenings of this educator of the masses. I obviously won’t go into extraordinary detail about who said what, nor will I regress into discussing fellow teachers / administrators / school staff strictly because it’s unprofessional. However, as with everything, I do take the ideas that annoy me and flip them into extensive thought-out essays for people to discuss and digest. That’s my only vow for this blog and people can read into the ideas and who they came from all they want. That’s the give-and-take of having a blog with my name on it: I have to write responsibly but honestly about anything I write, and it gives people a real person to write back to, for better or worse.

With that said, today I got a rude awakening of the fleeting nature of this job. I’m fortunate that the staff at my school has (to this point) kept the majority of its staff intact, creating a continuity that’s unparalleled at most schools. They range from the young and confident (like yours truly) to the elder but sterling in their grey. We have teachers who’ve transferred a couple of times and teachers in excess. We have teachers who aren’t very effective and those who one only needs to take a seat and put your face in your palms as you marvel at their ability to manage academics and classroom management flawlessly. We have the curmudgeons and the social butterflies.

The most effective teachers in my building, no matter what anyone felt about them, always worked hard at what they did. Whether they come across as teacher-dictators or cool cats, there was always a sense from them that, in their class, students were learning. Obviously, some teachers have deceptive techniques to make it look like kids are learning in the classroom, but after a while, they reveal themselves in more ways than one. This summer, I felt like I forgot how to do it, but today, I refocused myself on being reminded.

That came with the surprising departure of one of my mentors and closest friends in the building. He was one of my mentors and closest friends in the building. Yes, he’s got at least 20 years on me, but he was like a big brother to me. He contributed so much to the school environment and gave everything he could to the kids, but he found a job elsewhere. While I’m happy for him and his family, I’m sad for our school. That coupled with lots of other shifts happening in the building make me more determined to do as he did. He often took me under his wing when I was a first-year teacher, and I hope in his new job as coach, he’ll take the staff under his large wing as well.

So this morning, I looked into an empty classroom, with chairs up, desks clean, my personal desk still cluttered with last year’s teachers’ stuff.

I took a deep breath and said, “This is gonna be a special year.”

jose, whose work is never over …

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 VilsonOur Work Is Never Over

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