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Monday, August 31, 2015

Riding a Bike (Dear Katie Y1#1)

Dear Katie,

This spring, your young cousin learned how to ride a bicycle.  The first few days there were a lot of falls, a few scrapes, and a lot of tears.  There were times she wanted to give up.  And then, one day filled with some more mistakes, she just kept going and going and going.  Later on in the summer, she was making sharp turns as if she has been riding for years.  I am sure as we put her bike away for the winter and bring it back out next spring, she may have to relearn a bit, and may fall once or twice, but as we know, in a few years, that won't even happen.  She will pick up that bike and it will be as if there was no winter.  As they say, you never forget how to ride a bicycle.

On and off for two and a half years,  I have been given you advice in your quest to BE a teacher.  And now you have come to the end of the quest, and the beginning of the journey of BEING a teacher.  What should you expect on Day 1?

You will have butterflies and will be unable to sleep the night before.

Sorry, but this will be true for your first day of school for years to come.  It is not just a first year teacher thing.  It's because you are excited and scared at the same time.  I always thought of it like riding a bicycle.  The first year is like the first day.  A lot of falls, a lot of scrapes, but it doesn't stop you, you keep getting on and trying.  The next day you have less falls, and then there is that day after a fall or two , you keep riding.  They say that most teachers will leave the profession in the first two years because they find the job to be more than they had imagined.  And it will be more than you imagine.  Like riding a bike, if you give up quickly, you will never experience the joy that is found in conquering the skill of riding a bike.

And in teaching, there will be mountains you will need to climb.  The difficult child, the difficult parent, the student who is trying so hard but it just doesn't seem to be sticking, etc.  And just like a bicycle climbing a mountain, you will put the bike in a low gear and feel like you are spinning your wheels, but going nowhere.  Eventually you will get to the top, the difficult child or parent will say, "Thank-you", that struggling student will "get it", and you will have the exhilaration of going down that mountain as a reward for a job well done.

But it starts by being willing to get a few scrapes and bruises.

Consider them badges of honor.

Welcome to the Teacher's Room!

Uncle Kevin