27 April 2010

The Inside Track

My student teaching situation is a bit unconventional.  I am interning with two teachers in two different classrooms, on two different days.  One teacher meets with her kids everyday, and the other meets with hers only every other day.  The everyday class is an Alternative Education class where the students come and go throughout the day and work on getting credits from independent work and custom-made curriculum.  These students have been suspended or expelled at some point in the district, some have behavioral issues, and some have emotional behavioral issues that stem from learning disabilities.  The other class is the Special Education Transition Program for the district.  The students there are 18-21 years old, and they are learning to live and work in the real world; they will also discover what level of independent living they will be able to manage in the long run. 

I've been spending my student teaching constantly changing gears from one class to the next, and back again.  But what makes my experience so unique is that both of the teachers I'm working with are going to be retiring at the end of this year.  THis doesn't mean I will be able to easily step into their classes when the positions become available.  In fact, both of their positions would be too difficult for a noobie eacher like myself to handle in their first year.  What is unique is the conversations I get to have with both of them.  I am able to chat with these two educational sages and they get to reflect on their careers and tell me what they would have liked to have accomplished, what they wish education could be like, and what positions are not yet posted that are available. 

The last thing is the inside track I am  wanting to talk about.  These two ladies have connections I can only hope to gain over my educational career.  I was telling one about the districts in the area that i have applied to so far (Issaquah SD, Lake Washington SD, Renton SD, and Snoqualmie Valley SD) and with each one, she mentioned someone who she had a connection with who was not a teacher, but a director of this, or the chair of that department.  I don't want my first position to be from a favor; the first teaching year is supposed to be hard enough.  But in conversatios with the other teacher, she mentions positions the district is looking for that it hasn't posted yet, and the people that may go for it, and what kind of person the ditrict is looking for.  Information is a weapon, and something that I can use to my advantage. 

The quesion then become: how do I get this information to work for me without taking advantage of favors that ma not be necessary to call in?

1 comment:

Justice Calo Reign said...

Hey bro... first of all.. You're incredible. I love the fact that you are working with this demographic, it definitely shows your personality. Secondly, I wouldn't think of it as a favor. I have found that our older and wiser folks not only want, but need someone younger to pour into, and who is respectful enough of their experience, wisdom, and time to listen and gleam knowledge from them. What good is their knowledge if they have no one who will listen to it; learn and grow from it?

It's not a favor to get the best teacher who cares about kids into the classroom with them. I'm not sure how the whole education hierarchy works, but I would assume that their influence decreases when they exit from the game just like every other profession.

If you respect them, and they respect you, then there should be no problem with them at least making sure the people in those school districts take extra time on your application to see the kind of man, and educator that you are.

I really think it would behoove you to take advantage of the relationships you've cultivated! Good luck! Love you!