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Monday, June 05, 2006

The Mark of a Good Teacher



I enjoy the TechnoSpud blog and came across her comments about the end of the school year:

And that is how I am ending my school year as well. I think that I grumbled a bit more than I needed to but as I look back at the final product of what I have accomplished in the last 10 years at my job, I stop and say "ooh and ahhh" and am pleased with the results.

I hope you feel the same with your teaching!!!

I just had to comment because I had a great conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect that reminded me of the up and down struggles that are reflected in her comments. Here is a summary of my comments to Kathy's post:

I had asked my teacher friend, Clara Williams, who is a veteran teacher of 30 years if she ever stopped doubting herself at the end of the year and if she ever could sleep the day before school started. She has been teaching Middle School English in both public and private schools for over thirty years. This is what she said to me:

"I have never met a good teacher who did not wonder at the end of the year if they had taught the kids everything they needed. I also have not met a good teacher who did not feel anxiety before school started!

"If you stop worrying, you've lost the passion that makes you a good teacher. A good teacher always wonders if she or he can do more for their students." She continued, "I still do not sleep the week before school starts and I still get nauseated the first day of school."

She concluded, "Be glad, Vicki, that you have that feeling in your gut, that tells me you're doing a good job!"

Mrs. Clara has been my mentor and friend for the last four years of teaching. Every time she thinks about retiring, she remembers how much she loves it and she keeps on doing it. We give her the sixth grade homeroom every year because she is so good with helping children adapt to their first year of middle school. We call her "Mama Clara" for a reason.

She inspired me to blog and to push ahead and do more. She is not afraid of blogging and wants to add it to her classroom. She is never afraid and always doing more. She is kind to everyone. She is encouraging. She teaches other teachers as well as her children. What a legacy she leaves if she ever stops teaching. (Please more years!)

What kind of legacy are you leaving? As we tell the new story, we need to share stories of teachers like Mrs. Clara who have the students first in their minds and a good education in their sights.

I look forward to seeing what she and I will do together next year now that I've gotten my feet wet in the read/write Web!

Who inspires you? Do you still have that passion for teaching? Are you dreaming of ways to make things better this summer?

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