One of the teachers that left our school last year is The Reflective Educator (I have called him Hasselbeck in the past on this blog). He ditched us for lots of reasons, one being that he wants to eventually get into educational policy and is now teaching in Washington DC, and for another reason because he has a bad case of wanderlust and isn't currently tied down with various obligations, so why shouldn't he go to Korea for winter break, Chile for spring break and the Philippines or Africa over the summer? Not that I'm jealous or anything.
RE is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met. He is a far better teacher than I will ever be, mostly because he thinks all the time about how to be a better teacher. All. The. Time. I think about things like lunch, and whether I'll have enough copies to last for the rest of this month. He has been posting some great stuff on his blog, and if you are a teacher, or at all interested in education in this country, you should go check it out. I've posted some of his blog posts that have really made me think recently.
Letting Go of the Ego
RE has dealt with things at his new school and in his new district that make me so incredibly thankful to be where I am currently. My kids need me, and I need them. They are sweet, funny, and snarky, sometimes not too bright, they make dumb choices, and do amazing things that surprise me every single day. My district, while it has its problems (AHEM...I am speaking directly to YOU, oh tech department....), is a great place to be. It's supportive, less top-heavy than my previous district, and as a general rule, allows teachers to do what they do best - TEACH CREATIVELY. Sure, there are things I would change. But I am not in daily fear about losing my job, and I feel both supported and challenged by the administration. I have amazing, friendly, cooperative, and gifted coworkers and I know that I have grown more as a teacher in the last two years than I did in five years in college and five years in Dallas.
I don't agree with everything that RE says, but I do agree with most of it. I admire his natural gift for teaching and connecting with his students. I respect his ability to deconstruct a problem into its basic elements - allowing him to see the problem differently and come up with a logical solution. I am a wee bit jealous of his skills at higher level questions. And I know that this guy will someday be someone who makes policy - instead of someone who complains about it.
So....someday I'll brag that I knew him.