Monday, August 24, 2009

Orientation thoughts

New and young and an artistically blurred vision of the future.

Today was orientation for the new semester. I was required to attend, but in hindsight, I don't quite understand why I was there.

Well, let me rephrase that. I was there to meet my new supervisor, and the other student teachers who will be at my school. I don't quite understand why I had to sit through the other stuff.

One thing that did stick out to me this time around was what the guest speaker, also a CT, said:

"These students need 100% from you, some need even more than that. Be totally committed to the task at hand."

Not those exact words, but something to that effect. It made me wonder if I didn't give enough last semester - that the reason I failed was because I wasn't totally committed. But the moment I thought it, I knew it wasn't true. I have everything I had last semester - if I didn't, then it wouldn't have taken five months to recover from it.

Then, the program coordinator said something like this:

"Your best is not enough. Students need more than your best, they need THE best."

She was emphasizing professionalism during this speech, but it did take me aback a little. Ok, so I know my teaching isn't the best in the world. But I do aim for excellence too. So there are days when I try and try and try but still the fruits of my labor are dropping off the tree, half grown and dying. So does that mean I'm not suited for teaching? Does this mean I'm not cut out for the task?

Thus, I'm not quite done with the self-doubt yet. I probably will never be, not with this job.

The phase II's of UTEC seem so young and innocent to me, so much reveling in their newbie status. Many of them did look younger than I am, but there were some older ones too. They looked so full of hope, their fresh faces shining with anticipation of their first student teaching experience. Just like I probably looked like too, around this time last year.

Oh, the many, many things that can change in a year.

Yes, I'm a little more jaded. A little more realistic. A little less freshly enthusiastic about teaching. Sometimes I wish I could get that back. Other times I think I never want to be so terribly hopeful again since it sets me up for even more terrible disappointment.

But I'm getting a chance at a do-over, which doesn't always happen. A do-better-this-time-now-that-I-know-what-I-know-over. Yep, it's definitely an advantage because it seems like I belong in a category all to myself. I'm not a phase II, and also not a phase III taking the phase III courses, which are the categories everyone else falls into.

Which seems to me like I have a lot of freedom to do things a little apart from the group here, to be a little more independent with my student teaching studies and take initiatives that I couldn't afford to take last time as well as those that I didn't even know existed. This time, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and I'm getting a good feeling about it.

Now, if only I can make first contact with my new CT. He is being rather more difficult to get in touch with than the others.

Of course, during still other times I wish I didn't have to do a do-over in the first place; that I had gotten it done right the first time around. I can't make up my mind which I would rather have. But I suppose that is a moot point. I have what I have. "There is no elsewhere."

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