Do you remember your first day in high school? Perhaps you were in a new building- more likely than not surrounded by many new, unfamiliar, and large faces? I vaguely remember being excited, yet apprehensive and anxious. Would I be able to hack it? Would I make some good friends? Would it be a fun experience or drudgery?
Today is my first official day to report for my job teaching at a new school in a new state, surrounded by new teachers (and soon enough new students). I feel very similar to how I felt nearly 15 years ago on my first day of high school. Will I fit in to the existing school culture? Will the district and school be supportive of my desire to try out new projects, teaching methods, and technologies with students? Will I find a good group of teachers to collaborate with?
This feels very different than my first day teaching ever. Back then, I was scared. I was scared because I really didn't know what I was doing. In retrospect, I really didn't have a clue. Through some very long hours and watching and listening to well-respected teachers from all over (plus several years of practice), I've reached a place where I'm confident in my abilities. Not complacent- I feel it's very important to constantly strive to improve even if you're already the best (I'm not)- but confident that I'm able to engage students in learning instead of "forcing" them to learn. However, if I was teaching back in Michigan again this year, students coming into my class would already know me somewhat. They would at least know of me, and know what I was basically about. Now I'm in a situation where I have to earn my respect from students, teachers, and administrators alike. Will it initially mean more disruptive students testing the boundaries? Less flexibility from other teachers and administrators?
I'm again anxious and apprehensive heading into a new high school. Though this time, I bring so much more with me than I did 15 years ago- or even 6 years ago. I also bring with me the confidence that my anxiety and apprehension will be my drive to constantly improve the learning experience for my students.
I'm ready. Let's go!