On my bookshelf and desk sit a large variety of books related to the teaching profession. Recently, I rummaged through the titles to prepare for the new school year. It is an interesting time because I have the privilege of working with teachers across the continuum: soon-to-be teachers who are at the Praxis stage spending time observing teachers and learning teaching methods and student development, student teachers who sense the exhilaration and trepidation of testing instructional decisions of their own with a guide-on-the side, teachers in their first and second year of teaching who sense the weight and promise of a much-anticipated paid teaching experience, and, finally, the many veteran teachers who support and mentor their incoming colleagues.
In my work with first and second year teachers, I have the task of guiding them through their Clear Credential program. After years of university preparation, these new teachers are faced with a continuation of their pre-service experience. All-too-often they perceive similarities between the Preliminary and Clear Credential process. This often makes for a resistant group of teachers. . . you would think. What I have come to discover is that a dedicated teacher never turns down the opportunity to deeply reflect on their teaching practice; they welcome any chance to improve what they do.
As I review the array of book titles that are often a focus at the start of the year (Conscious Classroom Management, The Teacher’s Guide to Success, Don’t Smile Until December and other Myths About Classroom Teaching, the First Days of Class, The Unauthorized Teacher’s Survival Guide, Letters to a New Teacher. . . the list goes on.), I am struck by one striking truth about teaching. It is a lifelong commitment to learning, where each of us- pre-service to veteran- is in a never-ending quest for self improvement. It is a promise that lives in our hearts because we want what is best for our students. This promise moves us forward and keeps us all rummaging through book stacks year after year.