I am an old teacher.
57 on my last birthday.
And I'm pretty proud that I have kept up with all the changes I have seen in my teaching career. Not just kept up but kept ahead of them. I have never uttered the words, "We've done this before." Or "The last time we did this..." Well, OK, maybe I've said it once or twice. We've gone through a lot of curriculum management systems.
My students are amazed that
- I stay pretty current on the latest fads/games/music/etc.
- I taught junior high for 15 years before coming to the high school
- I'm older than some of their parents
- I've had some of their parents, aunts and uncles in class
- I have a smart phone
- I have a snapchat and Instagram account
- I'm better at Twitter than they are
- I'm "techy" and, again, better at it than many of them
I think what amazes them is that because I am so old, I shouldn't know the things I do. I should be content to teach the same thing every year until I die behind my desk.
That has never been my style.
I get bored too easily.
About every five years I feel the itch, the discontent begins. By the seventh year, I have to change what I am doing.
I started out as a para in our high school Special Ed department. Then I taught basic Math (gasp! I still can't believe I taught Math!) and basic English in the junior high (kind of a program for those who didn't qualify for special ed, but who were not making it in the regular classroom). Then I moved to teaching 7th grade English, switched to 7th grade Reading (even team taught the two classes for awhile). Eventually, I taught 7th and 8th grade Advanced English, Speech at the high school and also a class at the alternative school.
This semester I have Speech, Drama, Creative Writing, College Prep Lit and another class of 8th grade Advanced English.
I love the change. I love creating new plans, new units. I never want to teach the same thing twice. Sometimes I wonder why I keep old binders with old lesson plans in them. But just as I think I can throw them away (or trash them off my computer) a new idea comes to me. I can tweak this lesson. I can add this resource. I can flip this. I can make this an inquiry project.
I'm starting to think about retirement, but that doesn't mean I'll be resting on retired lesson plans. I'll keep thinking, keep changing, keep moving forward until the day they give me my retirement bell.