I have a habit of questioning everything – myself, others, and institutions. However I have to confess that as I began my transition from an independent school to a public school, I felt confident and seldom questioned myself.. I believed that because I had taught in public schools years ago, my 2 children attend public schools, and I had grown, both personally and professionally so much over the past 9 years, I was more than prepared to take on the challenges to be a great teacher at a new school. In hindsight, I can see it’s like it was when I prepared for the birth of my first child. I did the exercises, connected with mothers, and read the books but I really had no way to prepare for the long labor and excruciating labor pains. And I’m sorry to say, my husband’s back massage did absolutely nothing for me at the height of that pain.
Ok, this transition has not been as painful as childbirth but it has been a somewhat painful, stressful and humbling awakening. My biggest surprises were seeing how many students are not motivated to learn or perform well and the enormous breadth of learning content standards (which do not seem unrelated). I thought I could motivate most, if not every, student by making them excited with a great activity or PBL unit. I am now realizing I may know how to motivate everyone, especially students who may not have a strong support system outside of school. In addition, the curriculum leaves very little room for choice and depth.