22 years after my first year, I somehow feel the same excitement all over again.
A colleague and I were discussing the up-coming school year. He is entering his 4th year of teaching, just completed his Masters degree and is considering ways to publish his thesis. And now he is questioning what the great theme for this school year will be for him.
I think there are ebbs and flows in one's life and certainly in one's career. There are going to be strong years and weaker ones. When I used to body surf, I remember how the waves would come in sets of 7 or 8, followed by a slack in the action. The down time has its own function: time for reflection, for consolidation, and for focus on other things. Personally, for me, last year was a crucial year because I found myself considering the consequences of several key decisions I had made: 1. Working in a private school after so many years in public service; 2. Continuing as a classroom teacher rather than pursue administration; 3. Personal health and family issues that were bubbling up under the surface.
In this time of ebb, I may have not exerted myself as productively as I could have and several of my students did not get the opportunity to see me at my best.
But along came Twitter and my connection to a large and vibrant professional community.Twitter has allowed me to explore new possibilities with technology and communication. It has put me in touch with math teachers around the globe. I have been able to explore any idea that comes to my head with an eager audience of responders. At the same time, I can access the collective and individual wisdom of people I would otherwise not have the priviledge of "knowing".
Also came the Bay Area Writing Project and the 5 week long seminar in which I not only got to explore my personal voice, but also bathed in the collective wisdom of 22 other teachers around me.
I am thrilled to be a teacher in the era of technological blossoming, and at the same time, happy to have the many years of experience that actually allows me to access the new stuff with greater wisdom.