I am approaching the middle of my teaching career. I am also in the middle of the teacher generations. I am no longer the “new guy,” nor am I a part of the “old guard.” I find myself being placed into leadership positions both on campus, in the district, and even here on the web. I am embracing the opportunities that come my way and doing my best to serve when and where asked. I am also trying to mentor as many young teachers as I can. This is an interested and somewhat daunting place to be, in the middle.
Many of the teachers who mentored me in my early years of teaching have either retired recently, or are close. Some of them have worked hard through their tenure to keep up with the latest teaching trends and held tight to the swing of the educational reform pendulum. Other veteran teachers found what worked for them early on and have stuck to a winning game plan. It’s sad to see these folks move on; they take with them volumes of experience ALL teachers could benefit from learning. If you are in the twilight of your career please share your wisdom.
As I look around at my peer group of teachers I am impressed. Most of us are Generation Xers who enthusiastically jumped into teaching because we saw a need and felt a call. Now in our teenage teaching years we have learned a little, experienced a little, and are starting to refine our game. We’ve been though the onslaught of standards and lived through almost a decade of NCLB. Thankfully many of us missed out on BITSA, but we’re all pretty good teachers anyway. We now answer the call of campus leadership and are ready to lead the way.
This newest generation of teachers is a truly impressive group. They have endured a ridiculously difficult process in their pursuit of teaching. But, for all of the hoops, and test, and essays, and lesson plans, these young teachers are dynamic, exciting, and just plain fun to be around. Their ideas are fresh and innovative, their integration of technology is impressive, and their love of teaching and learning is clear. I am excited for my own children to be taught by this amazing young generation of committed, encouraging, and enthusiastic young teachers. It is true, the future of teaching is bright.
Education evolves with every new generation of educators. True some of the themes and ideas get recycled, but the teaching of students is a process that improves every year. Each successive cohort of teachers stands upon the shoulders of the giants who came before them as they reach higher and higher to raise up the next generation of learners. But the ultimate goal remains: teach the students well. I’m so thankful to be included in an alliance of individuals who commit themselves to the improvement of our planet through the education of all people and the growth of our culture.