A Letter From A Diligent Yet Anxious Teacher

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17 November 2013

To whom it may concern,

I am a teacher. I stand in front of awaiting eyes, ears, mouths and minds. I don't always stand in front. Sometimes I sit side by side or sit gathered in circles. I have plans for my students. I have expectations. I would like to consolidate skills through practice. And I want to consolidate these practices by providing opportunities for my students to learn and to practice and to grow. I have a picture of what a successful learner looks like. I think I have this vision. I think it is a fair vision. I feel that every child can achieve. I am deeply curious about my students. Most importantly, I see education as transformative. I need to remind myself of this. I shouldn't need to, but I do.

I can point to those in the classroom who share my expectations. They know what success looks like and they have the means to work toward the goal. They are more or less motivated. I don't want to let them down. I want to support and challenge them.

I am still nervous, though. I have set up the environment. I have laid out my expectations. I have planned out my lessons, and I have planned regular opportunities to scaffold the learning for the apprentices that are before me. I feel that my teaching will be engaging. Not just fun ... The learning will be engaging and the discussions will be engaging. I tell myself this, but there is no guarantee. I need to be honest in my reflections and determined in the way I navigate this ship.

Despite being nervous, I am enthusiastic. I am passionate about what I teach, and I know the students can share this passion and find pathways to apply this learning. I care and believe that I can inspire (or, at least persuade) my students of the importance of what they are about to learn. 

I am still nervous, though. Some will need more support than others. Some may even get lost at times. I think I can tap into their knowledge and interests. I think we will both be learning together.  I will make myself available. And I am dedicated to monitoring their learning, reflecting on their growth and intervening when extra support is required. That’s my professional duty. And I really believe that through practice and opportunities, the students take this learning on.

I know there will be those who it will be difficult to reach. There will be some students who are not at school everyday. There will be others who face considerable learning challenging. And there will be others who may need some time to trust or to engage. I do not accept that I will not reach these students. I do accept that I will need to reach beyond the school walls to build partnerships and seek advice.

I will teach with kindness and urgency. I will demonstrate expertise and empathy. I will do my utmost to be of service to the students and the community.

Yours sincerely,

Anxious Teacher