I left off on my last post listing what I really need to be more successful in my teaching. I will add a mentor to that list. Technically, my mentor is supposed to be the grade level chairperson. She is more like a go to person than a real mentor. This isn’t her fault or lack of initiative on her part. The demands of her job don’t really allow time for her to mentor me. After school when there is time for us to really talk, she is gone. We don’t have an regular meetings.
The best model for what I need is the professional relationship I have with the math coach. She has been the most consistently present and helpful. I have also had opportunities to debrief with her on my teaching and the students’ progress. As it stands, math is the subject in which I feel the most secure and effective.
Based on my experiences as a teacher, I see why there is so much attrition in the first 3-5 years. One other thing I’d mention is the lack of respect for teachers as professionals. In the state in which I teach, teachers sign a yearly contract. We accrue sick days but no vacation time. While it is impossible to fulfill ones job without working outside of normal business (off the clock) hours, if you are late each minute is deducted from your leave time. For example, I was 35 minutes late one day because a parent/teacher conference with my daughter’s teacher prevented me from getting to work on time. I followed the procedures for calling in. My AP sat with my class until I arrived. I was docked those 35 minutes. Daily I arrive at school an hour early and often leave 2-3 hours late. I worked two Saturdays at school and would come in more often it the building was open. I won’t even mention the work I do in the evenings and on weekends. None of this is taken into consideration.
I am looking forward to multiplying my joys and dividing my current sorrows. I have faith it will come. As I prepare to return, I am anxious, but filled with faith that things will get better.