I realized I haven't blogged yet about my student teacher.
She is really, really good. Other than our type A personalities, we don't really have a lot in common. She is a beauty pageant queen many times over, perfect teeth, really tiny, voluminous hair, extra peppy, loves small talk, and very friendly. I'm not any of those things. She's definitely smarter than me when it comes to math.
She has her stuff together. In some ways, I feel like we are on the same level and consequently, I have really high expectations for her. She taught my Algebra I class all week and just modified my materials. The students could not believe this was the first time she's ever taught. When I observe her, I write two-column notes labeled "Go" and "Grow". That helps me balance my comments between praise and instruction. I am having a blast with 'coaching' her and just making suggestions. It's so much fun! If we could do this with teachers for a full year, there would be no stopping us. It is such a valuable process.
I like having someone to discuss and brainstorm ideas with and together we've made some changes to the pacing and created some activities. It's nice to not be so isolated. It's also nice to sit back and let someone else be in charge.
But my favorite thing of all is this...not once have I compared myself to her or wished that I was different. I am very happy being me and teaching the way that I teach. I have been surprised and found some good ideas while watching her but I'm actually feeling more and more satisfied with who I am as a teacher.
That may seem silly to you...why would I ever compare myself to someone who hasn't been a teacher yet? But I spent a lot of years in various parts of my life comparing myself, not measuring up, and wanting to be someone else. I still sometimes compare my teaching ability to you mad geniuses out there. But this year, I am just really satisfied with where I'm at and what I'm doing. I'm confident....solid.
Today I had to teach in Algebra I because she works on Fridays and I wondered if it would be weird since she has taken over the class. (Warning: Some lameness will appear shortly) But it was seriously like coming home. It just felt right and I was thinking "Yeah, these are my kids." It just felt so comfortable and the lesson went so smoothly...confirmation that I just might have a handle on this beast we call teaching.
I've rarely had this experience. I am able to admire traits about someone else without without without making myself feel bad for not having those traits. It is possible to lift up someone else without degrading yourself. It is possible to like myself more and more for just being me. It is possible for me to measure up and not find myself lacking.
It. Is. Possible.