I started teaching 11 years ago in Flin Flon Manitoba. Fresh out of the factory I was excited to have a class of my very own. My first class in 2002 was an eager group of grade sevens who I taught all subjects to. After struggling through my first few months and giving up on long range specific planning I slowly learned how to focus on the key ideas and think about units rather than trying to specifically plan each lesson each day. Going to SAG I remember picking up valuable labs for my science class which my students greatly enjoyed. What this mug represents to me is a reminder of the eagerness and energy I felt as a new teacher how I maintained personal connections with my students and was learning as much or more than them.
I remember getting the #1 teacher mug for Christmas that year from as student in that first grade seven class. I took it to the staff room that day at lunch and told everyone that’s it I’ve done it I’ve peaked! The reality is that I knew when I was given the mug that the #1 teacher I wanted to be was something far off in the distant future.
When reflecting on my initial teaching days with a colleague of mine who worked in the same school, I noted that I felt a little bad that I didn’t know what I know now about educational practices. He told me that as a young teacher each of us has an opportunity to give something that is unique to those of us just starting out. He said our curiosity and willingness to learn leads us down unfamiliar paths and students benefit from that exploration and excitement.
Now that I am in my 11th year in education I am still learning new things every day and trying to be the #1 teacher that my students thought I was then. When I start feeling like things are easy or not exciting enough I know it is time to raise the bar and find more new challenges to keep my edge.
I do miss that class!