Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaching 25 Years

(image from
This month marks my silver anniversary of teaching. 25 years ago, I took my first teaching job. I decided late in my pre-med studies in college that I didn't want to go to med school, and I really didn't have a plan B. I tried working as a youth director in a Baptist church for awhile, but quickly realized I didn't like being a professional Christian. My parents were both educators, and I had often wondered if teaching was in my blood, too. So, when my church job was cut to part time, I went looking for jobs as a substitute to give teaching a try. The first school I walked into, a small private school in Greenville, Mississippi, hired me on the spot. Their junior high math teacher had just walked out, and I took over that class when spring semester started.

I learned over that first semester that I didn't like junior high, I didn't like math, but I really liked teaching. I thought I had found my niche, and 25 years later, it's clear that I had. I am my teacher. It's one of the main ways I define myself. I do it naturally, and it brings me great joy. There's nothing quite like those times in my classroom with my students in which we're all engaged in true learning.

I'm not sure yet how I'm going to celebrate this silver anniversary, but I really do want to mark this milestone. I may be blogging over the next semester about key moments in teaching across the last 25 years. (It's funny--the first thing I think of is the mimeograph machine!) I find myself being reflective and a little nostalgic as I think of a quarter century of teaching. That's a long time doing a really valuable job!