Excerpt from See Me After Class.
From the Author:
I have never understood why so many books for the new teacher show apples and paper airplanes on their covers. In six years of teaching, no one has ever given me an apple. Any snacks students have offered me have come from vending machines, and teachers are not allowed to accept unwrapped food anyway. I have never seen a paper airplane, either. This generation of students knows that crumpled-up-paper balls are faster to make and easier to aim. Some unlucky teachers have had books thrown at them. In at least one case, a teacher was hit in the back with chunks of plaster from her crumbling classroom wall.
Even without serious discipline problems, new teachers often feel like failures. Not only do they take on all the issues plaguing the school system, they cause many of their own problems because of their inexperience. As a beginner, I sat through countless workshops listening to the heartwarming success stories of others. Then, carrying home piles of un-graded papers the night before report card day, all I could think was, “How did these poor students get stuck with a teacher like me?”
I also remember some generous, experienced coworkers who shared their own first-year horror stories. One described a parent who threatened to “f___ (her) up” during class time. Another talked about a hard-working student who was tormented every time he turned in an assignment, and a third confided that she was so overwhelmed she repeatedly turned in the same lesson plan. These stories were not inspirational, but during my first year they kept me sane. These were people who had become top-notch professionals. If their start had been so rocky, maybe there was hope for me.
Roxanna Elden is a teacher in the Miami, Florida school system and has developed presentations for new teachers at schools around Miami. She received her National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards certificate in 2008. Roxanna has taught adults, elementary school, middle school, high school, day school, night school, Saturday school and summer school. She has taught jobs in Chicago, Houston, and finally, Miami.