Mar 4, 2014

Just Keep Swimmin'

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go visit some middle school classes (ahem, at the middle school my children will attend... dual purposes... that's what I like).  This was not my first observation day, nor will it be my last, but it impacted me.

As I am beginning on this journey to become a teacher, you may (or may not) be surprised by how many people have tried to "warn me off" from teaching.  I've had a number of non-teachers exclaim "I would never do that!  Good luck with that!"   I've had a handful of experienced teachers ask me "Are you sure you want to do this?" or worse "WHY on earth would you want to be a teacher?!"  (I always laugh awkwardly... hoping that they are being facetious).

I have also had some really good conversations with seasoned teachers encouraging me, telling me I would be great, and expressing a love for the career that I hope will be my future.

Some of my take-aways from those conversations:
  • Teaching is not for the faint of heart
  • Good teaching is really hard work... but...
  • Good teaching is really rewarding work
  •  You feel like you are failing a lot (especially those first few years)
  • If you can ignore or cope with the political and administrative stuff the kids will keep you going... but only... if you like kids.
  • Becoming a teacher might actually be harder than actually being a teacher 
Yesterday I had one of those days observing teachers, where I could see the passion and the exhaustion mixed together and it gave me hope.  Then I talked to a student teacher and I walked away from her honest experience feeling like this:

I am standing on the edge of a really cold, really big lake.
I know the water will be cold.  I know I will get used to it.
I know it will take energy to swim all the way across.  I know I have the ability  to do it.
I know will be people rowing alongside who are cheering me on, and as I come up for air I will hear their yells, their encouragement.  I know all this, but I still have to dive into that water.
My lungs are already screaming for air and I haven't even gone under.
My heart is already beating a rhythm in my chest and I haven't taken my first stroke.
My muscles and skin are tensing for the first cold plunge and I haven't even started swimming yet.
There are people in the water yelling at me that it's so much harder than they expected, that the water is colder or deeper or rougher than they expected... and I am starting to get nervous.

To quote Steven Curtis Chapman's Dive:  "My heart is racing and my knees are weak, as I walk to the edge. I know there is no turning back, once my feet have left the ledge. And in the rush I hear a voice that's telling me it's time to take the leap of faith, so here I go. I'm diving in, I'm going deep, in over my head I want to be, caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go, the river's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is alive, So sink or swim, I'm diving in."

This is what I keep hearing in my mind...
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