I love existential titles; don’t you?
Well two days ago, I completed my greatest public speaking gig I’ve ever had. I spoke for the NYC Teaching Fellows in front of 2000 or so people, most of which were new teachers in the program. I was anxious about 10 minutes before I had to make the speech, but next thing I know, I’m in the middle of speaking to all these teachers who really haven’t the slightest as to what they’re getting into.
It’s been a full circle trip for me. Two years ago, as part of Cohort 10, I was a new fresh face to the program, nervous but excited about this new career I got into. Now after those two wild years, I stood before them to share my story about how things are in the classroom.
I tried not to paint an extremely rosy picture, but I also laced it with the idealism that’s gotten me through the past two years (and will definitely get me through the next few years). Because of this program, I was given a chance I didn’t even think I had. I had thought about becoming a teacher ever since I was in college, but to become one (and one that people really love) is a whole ‘nother ballgame.
As for the speech itself, that went well. I spoke about the endless possibilities for students to achieve in urban schools and how I turned my life experience into a career in turning kids lives through the program. Of course, that sounds like candy to any teacher’s ears, but I also did my best to explain (especially for those not from urban communities) that it will be difficult, and that my example is only a snippet of what they should expect. After all, we can’t scare them off on opening week.
I really hope those 2000 or so student teachers come into our school system with the mentality that they’re not there to save the kids, but accept them for who they are and let them reach their own potential. Definite difference.
By the way, if you’re a Fellow who just found me, or just a new teacher in general, shoot me a message; I’ll be around …
jose, the new oldie …