Thursday, August 20, 2015

Salty Ol' Vet

As promised, and now also feels long overdue (you know, seeing as how the last 16 posts came at you quick and dirty). Here is the first of several posts that take all of the EducatingMe write-ups that happened to on the trail and tie them to education, according to me. I will take it one post at a time and milk the Colorado Trail blogs for all they are worth. ;-) This one seem most fitting as I see everyone heading back to classes this week. Hang on tight and Grammer Nazis turn your heads there are some run on sentences here, but the rant required it.

In the post about Granola Ways - I had no clue what I didn't know. We were about to embark on an epic journey with wide eyes and starry visions of what the experience would be like. Days later we would find that reality would punch us in the face. But like I said, when I wrote the post we had no clue.

Do you remember when you graduated college with that crisp piece of paper in your hands (which you don't actually get for 3 more weeks) and all those ideas? Yeah, I know the full internship is supposed to prepare you too, but let's face it, we all know that's a load too. Well, crap, with all of the certified teachers now-a-days that skipped the teaching route know because OK will now take any and all willing to give it a whirl these days...ehm...#teachershortage.

Sidenote - Thank you to the non-traditional teachers for not only coming in and giving a stir to education, but also for the fact that class sizes are not 100:1. I do not want it to sound as if in an earlier paragraph I was diggin' on ya'll. Seriously, thank you.

I shan't digress...Remember, you set up the classroom a week or so before school and then rearrange the desks...and then do it again because something just doesn't flow about it. You hang a few posters on the wall. You thought you might have bought too many until you realize the school assigned you to a room that is sandwiched in by two 15 and 20 year teachers. It looks like my grandmothers house in their classrooms. You know the type, with a million posters of Garfield (before he was digital) saying that he's hungry for more knowledge. Rugs that look well worn but really make the room cozy. Of course there are about 8 bookshelves, filled to the gild with every book you ever read in school. You walk back to your classroom look around and think...I've got to get to Target.
But then you realize with a cart full of stuff that these new items will never look worn and welcoming in your room. So you go back to your classroom all depressed and unsure how this year is going to even get started on the right foot without looking like the new guy that you already are.

Am I close at all to how you felt? Can you even remember? Well, If you couldn't tell, this - a little bit resembles - in the faintest of ways is how one...ehm...might feel. You have no clue how to prepare. You have no clue what those kids will look like. You have not clue if you can actually teach a lesson that isn't all jacked up on NSU hormones, because the first set of lesson plans you turned in to your new principal were 5 pages long, because that is what you are used to - and then he asks that next time you turn in one page - for the whole week. WHAT?!?!?

The point is, Travis trained for over a year to ride that trail, much like we trained for four years to teach that class. We speculated that altitude would be tough...but that the Oklahoma heat and humidity had to count for something. We knew that we would be working at our jobs as we went along. We knew we would be documenting the whole way. We knew things would probably get tough. But we had no clue. There was no possible way to prepare. Just like there is no possible way to fully prepare for what standing in front of the class with 35 sets of eyes with minds behind them, all looking up at you waiting to be filled with knowledge and nobody around observing to make sure you aren't totally screwing everything up.

It's not the fault of the Universities. How do you play house without actually owning a house? How can you know what it's like to have a baby having only done some babysitting before? You cannot. What you can do, is keep your eyes open. Learn from the pros around you. Beg, borrow and steal the ideas while you are learning.  Then, when you are ready and comfortable, start making it yours. Attend PD's on your own time to hone in your skills before you retire. Follow the #oklaed on the Twitters and keep your chin up. You'll be a salty ol' vet soon.

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