Friday, June 23, 2017By:
I feel like I blinked and this past week was gone. It went so quickly. This past weekend, my best friend from home came and spent the weekend with me. We did as much as we possibly could in the 2 days she was here. (See the pictures) It was so great for me to be able to show her my life here that I have for the summer and to make some more memories to add to our 18 year friendship.
I began my work week working on a 100kin10 project focusing on recruiting teachers by addressing misperceptions in teaching. We are working to create resources that educators can use with their students to contradict their inaccurate perceptions. One of the main myths we are discussing is the belief that teachers are poor when, in fact, teachers make a very livable income. According to report by the American Physical Society, most people believed that an average secondary teacher made around $40,000. In reality, an average secondary teacher salary is $52,000. Additionally, the benefits and retirement plans of a teacher are notably better than those of other STEM professionals.
Overall, being apart of this group was incredibly enlightening. I learned how a group like this functions with many different people with a wide range of experiences. I observed how to professionally disagree. I gained insight on how you move to get a project funded. I even got to try some greek food at a fancy restaurant :) But most importantly, I felt valued in the discussions I was apart of. The professionals in the group genuinely wanted to know my thoughts, and I felt I was able to bring a perspective that the others could not. I was honored to be able to contribute to the work they are doing.
Beyond that project, I worked on my workshop plans and sending out information about the workshop as we are still looking for participants. I started reading a book New Teacher Mentoring: Hopes and Promise For Improving Teacher Effectiveness. In hopes to aid in a grant proposal we will be writing. I am also working with my mentor to advocate for a program (Albert Einstein Fellowship) that she passionately believes in as it is being eliminated after this coming year. This has been an interesting process to be apart of. I took Government and Citizenship in ninth grade with Mr. Hartzberg, but that was a long time ago, so there are a lot of gaps in my understanding of my own government. I am learning more about government and policy than I did before. Additionally, and more importantly, through this process, I am developing even more respect and admiration for my mentor as I watch her take initiative on something she believes in. She is a strong and passionate woman that has the skills to initiate change. To bring it all together, she is young to already have obtained these skills, I excited to see all she will continue to do.
When I look at the week as a whole, I had one last major insight. I am turning around to Rachel to say “I have no idea what I am doing!”a lot less. (Rachel is the high school intern that works next to me a couple days a week.) If I were to have honestly spoke to those first couple weeks here, you would have heard how vastly under-qualified I felt for this job. What does a politically conservative 22 year-old recent college graduate have any business doing in an experienced adult driven and sustained and generally liberal environment? However, I am slowly gaining confidence. I am developing a healthy balance of seeing the value I bring to and accepting that I am not supposed to know what I am doing. I am here primarily to learn and develop as an educator and an individual. It is okay for me to ask questions and process new information. It is okay for me to not know what I am doing, and because I don’t have all the answers (and I probably never will when it comes to teaching), I have endless potential for growth.