Sunday, July 1, 2012

Optimism about younger teachers

John, I was on my flight from Colorado back to Las Vegas and I had the most delightful conversation. The girl (mid twenties) sitting next to me turned out to be a seventh year teacher. She teaches second grade in the Thompson School District in Loveland, Colorado. She was newly married and on her honeymoon to Las Vegas and then Hawaii. As you can imagine, we had a wonderful visit as the plane was preparing to land in Las Vegas. I mentioned that I was retired after thirty-three years of teaching. She really perked up when she learned that I had earned a masters and a PhD in education. She seemed to think that earning more degrees might be a good way to grow as a teacher throughout her career. She melted as she reflected about how much she enjoyed her students this year and about how wonderful the parents of her students had been this year. She even had one of her student's mom be the photographer at her wedding. She just glowed as she reflected on how much she loves teaching. She seemed to admire the fact that I had been a teacher. She seemed to envision herself teaching for many years to come. As a new bride, she agreed with me that teaching is an ideal career for someone with goals towards having children and raising a family while continuing her career as a teacher. I mentioned to her about this blog that we are starting as a resource to other teachers who might wish to extend their reflection, thinking, and dialogue with others about teaching. She took the trouble of writing down this blog name. Her response to our conversation and her reactions to our conversation reassured me that there are young teachers today who sincerely love having the opportunity and privilege of being a teacher. For all of the hard work and challenges, the smile she showed me about how she feels at this point in her career reminded me very much of how I loved being a teacher each and every year that I taught. I am glad we are starting up this blog as a resource for us and others to share our passion for making a difference for students and families.


  1. Wow - Optimism is something we could use a bit more of in public education. What gift to meet someone who has passion for the profession and years ahead of them to grow professionally. Optimism is a shoehorn for confidence and efficacy as a classroom teacher.

  2. If we mix this important idea of teacher optimism with the posting that talks about implications of the fact that today more and more teachers ARE in their first year of the profession, then optimism not only becomes something nice for some teachers to have but also perhaps a prerequisite or important quality to have in order to help them get through the challenges of beginning teaching and to propel them forward with resilience to continue with the profession. We both know that the rewards are greater and the learning curve is easier in the second year! Maybe deb can help us with this. What role did optimism play in her initial years of teaching?

  3. Deb and I were talking yesterday about this and we realized that optimism may be a necessary and important quality for anyone starting in any career. This generation sometimes seems to have a different mindset about the amount of commitment and expectations one needs to bring into a new job. It would be cool if society could value teaching in a way that would encourage new teachers to realize that commitment, motivation, respect for hard work, etc. is vital to have when pursuing this important vocation.