I’m sitting in a Starbucks sipping on a venti iced caramel macchiato. After what seemed to be a promising start to spring, we find ourselves facing a brisk high of 50 degrees here in New York City. Public schools are on spring break this week — a welcome reprieve from the daily grind of the Teaching Collaborative.
The field experience in and of itself isn’t the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But, when you look at the different components that we have to stay on top of — daily lesson planning, regular reading and homework assignments for the Skill Building component of the program, there are many components that need to be juggled. I’m learning loads, both in terms of time management, class management and the foundational skills that I’ll need to be in my own classroom come September.
My approach to field experience is pretty straightforward: Learn something new each day, and don’t be afraid to try something new. I treat everything as a learning experience, which I think is a requisite to be successful as a Partner Teacher in the program. A mentor once told me that it’s okay to make a mistake — the key is not to make that same mistake twice. That mantra is certainly one that I’ve taken to heart. From learning the content for my earth science course to trying out different classroom management strategies, I was surprised how much I learned from things not going as expected.
As far as the program goes, I’m in a really good place. I’ve accepted a full-time teaching position for the fall, have met or exceeded expectations in the first two gateway (formal) observations, and have completed most of the deliverables for Skill Building. The initial imposter syndrome has long since faded, and I feel comfortable calling myself an educator — although I suppose it won’t be official until NYSED issues my transitional B teaching certificate over the summer.
I started this blog largely as a self-reflective tool for my own professional growth and development. I also hope that future Collaborative Partner Teachers, applicants, or anyone interested in alternate teaching certification programs finds value in the blog. I have many more thoughts to share about the program, and I hope that I’ll get into a more steady blogging routine as school begins next week.
In the meantime, I’m going to finish up the books I’ve been reading (Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest and an edited volume called Teacher’s Unions and Social Justice), enjoy more iced macchiatos, and recharge my batteries before we go back to school on Monday. The final stretch of field experience is quickly approaching, and the end is in sight.