Only though I have only been teaching for 5 years, I have had the pleasure of learning what a true leader is from my master teacher, Vince. When I first met him, I was afraid I was going to have a horrible experience. He had informed me that he only agreed to be my master teacher because the district had asked him to do so. Even though I was the 9th student teacher he had, he had a horrible experience with his last one and was afraid of repeating the experience. Luckily for both of us, it turned out to be an amazing experience. Vince did not hold my hand during my student teaching experience. From the beginning, he had told me that this was my classroom and I could do what I wanted. “If you’re a project based teacher, do projects. If you’re a story teller, tell stories. Do what you’re good at and the kids will respond.” Vince had also allowed me to make my own mistakes and learn from them.
Not only did Vince allow me to become my own teacher, but he also took the time to show me the ropes as to the ways in which to get a job in education. Whenever I was doing a cool lesson, Vince would go out of his way to get administration to come and observe. He took the time to help me with me resume, informed me of who I needed to get letters of recommendation as well as references from. Vince also helped me practice interviews and informed me of general questions I would be asked and the ways in which to respond to them. When I talk to other teachers about their student teaching experience, I’m always shocked that they were not given the same experience as me, in terms of the knowledge that was passed down. Without him, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten a job 2 months after finishing student teaching with no subbing experience whatsoever.
Because of the experience I had with Vince, I try to pass on the knowledge he gave me to the subs I come into contact with and the ones who are looking to become teachers. His leadership style, which offered guidance and support, but did not force me to be something I did not want to be and allowed me to develop into the teacher I am today. With every year that I teach, I become even more grateful of the student teaching experience I had.
Accountability is really important in education, both internal and external. Unfortunately, the school that I’m at is lacking in both. Typically at our Social Science PLC, 4 or 5 of the 13 teachers in our department actually show up. There is little collaboration and even though there have been some attempts made to create more grade level assignments that all teachers teaching a particular subject would do, there is still heavy resistance from teachers who do not want to change. Because admin does not walk around or visit classrooms, the lack of accountability has continued from both internal and external forces. There are several teachers on my campus who are known for doing absolutely nothing or just handing out packets or assigning book work, but because they haven’t been called out by leadership, they have no issues continuing to disservice our students.
Because the relationship between staff members is cliquey and contentious, there is no real push to make changes in our school. To be completely honest, unless there is a major change in our leadership, I don’t see any accountability being implemented coming any time soon, which for me, is really disheartening.