Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Momma Reece

Today is the first day back in workdays for most teachers in the state. Guess where I'm at on a weekday morning? Drinking coffee, doing launrdy, and watching sweet baby play in the bouncy. Guess what I'm NOT doing? Sitting in a welcome back assembly watching all day powerpoints about school scores and being pepped up to start a new year.

Over the weekend one of my favorite SuperTeachers came by to visit the boys. When I think of people that saved my ass first year I think of Kim Reece. My first year was a decade ago and as I started I will be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a great mentor during student teaching who believed baptism by fire method of learning. While others in my masters program where lucky to take attendence for their teacher, mine was having me teach the federal court system two weeks after I started.

I owe Marty B giving me confidence I never knew I had for the year we worked together. But with that said, nothing compares to having your own classes that you are totally responsible for day after day. Because the county I currently work in is near impossible to land a job just out of school, I taught for my first 2 years in a neighboring rural county that at the time had one very large high school.

I worked in a large department of over 20 other teachers that took up an entire floor. In my interior windowless, hot as hell room I moved all my stuff in and started to plan for the 3 preps I had been given including an AP class. Needless to say I spent around 60-80 hours a week for the next year including most Sundays trying to stay ahead. I don't think people outside education undertand how much work adding one new prep for a new class means: creating lesson plans for 90 min blocks, finding media that can be supported, working within the confines of a state mandated objectives (78 in civics alone with 800 terms for the course.)

In walked Mrs. R to the resecue with her lessons, open file cabinate, listening ear, and years of tried and true classroom management techniques. She was mom to both me and my friend Laura H who was also a new teacher next door. I cannot tell you how much I owe Kim for saving me that 1st year. As a graduate of the high school and long time resident in the town she knows (and has taught) most folks in her 25+ years. Her creation of a Mock Life Project is the reason that I wanted to teach, to help instill some real and meaninigful skills outside of sit and get teaching to the state test.

Her B/G twins, who were sweet Freshman my 1st year, are out of college getting married and heading to law school. Just saying that makes me feel really, really old. Just that just as Kim would agree that it's not the bureacatic aspects of the job but the kids are the reason you come back year after year.

As I start next week with my fall sections online I'm reminded that teacher like Kim are the reason that kids succeed. They have a personal cheerleder in their corner that refuses to let them get lost in the system.

1 comment:

Kim Reece said...

What a sweet tribute, Heather. If only I could live up to all that hype! And, you are an awesome teacher! Have a great year internet teaching!