A Beginning Teacher’s Journey: Part Four

Since I started blogging with Heart & Art three years ago, I like to think I’ve had an ongoing storyline in my “A Beginning Teacher’s Journey” posts. So far, I’ve written three instalments.

A Beginning Teacher’s Journey: Part One reminisces about the day I found out I had been hired to the Occasional Teacher list in my board. I still remember that moment clear as day – the moment that began my career. I wrote about accepting my first LTO position, and how it felt to finally, truly be a teacher. I was so excited, and still feel that excitement today.

In A Beginning Teachers’ Journey: Part Two, I shared some of the struggles and joys of being a brand new teacher. As I’m reading that post again today, I’m proud of myself for how I’ve grown but also humbled by how much I am still thinking those same things. Even three and a half years in, I’m still feeling like a new teacher. I’m still learning as I go.

I wrote A Beginning Teacher’s Journey: Part Three at the end of my first significantly long LTO position. I wrote about the sense of loss teacher feels when they must leave a class or a school, moving between different assignments throughout the first few years of teaching. As an LTO teacher, this has been the hardest part of my job. Since writing that post, I have taught in two full-year long LTO positions at two different schools. I felt the exact same way leaving at the end of the year each of those times, too.

Today, I’m writing part four as a permanent teacher! I have finally accepted a full time, permanent position teaching grade 3/4 at a wonderful school.

There’s still a part of me that can’t quite believe it. It was only recently that I wrote this post, sharing how many of my colleagues, myself included, were concerned about the prospects of permanent employment.

I had just started my first day of a full-year LTO assignment when I received the call to interview for the permanent position I had applied for. When asking a good friend and colleague for interview advice, she simply told me to speak from the heart and exude who I was as a teacher. So that’s what I did. I think it was pretty good advice! The phone call I received officially offering me the position is yet another moment that I will always remember!

Tomorrow will mark four weeks since beginning my new position. Beginning at a new school isn’t new territory for me, as this is the fifth school I’ve now called home. Only this time, it feels a lot more like home. I have learned a lot already and I know that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve spent late nights and early mornings setting up my classroom, planning my program and settling in. I’ve focused the most on building relationships. I am so excited to watch my students grow even beyond my year with them. I am so eager to build my second home and become a part of the school community. I am so relieved that I no longer have to worry about job security, and maybe even more relieved about not having to pack up and bring home my classroom with me this summer.

At first when writing this post, I thought I might title it “A Beginning Teacher’s Journey: The Final Part”, or something more clever but along those lines. However, that’s not how I see it. The journey is still continuing and a lot of new things are ahead for me. I’ll be going through the New Teacher Induction Program process, which will include two Teacher Performance Appraisals and building a portfolio of professional growth. I look forward to writing and sharing all about it!

I’ve still got a long way to go with this whole “beginning teacher” thing, but my journey so far has been the most rewarding, exciting and challenging experience I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t change a thing!

And this girl? She’s pretty happy. My first class photo as a teacher, circa 1995.

 

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Updated: October 30, 2019 — 11:35 pm

The Author

Laura Bottrell

Laura is a Grade 3/4 teacher with HWDSB. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Youth & Children's Studies and is a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She believes in the power of play and inquiry-based learning, no matter the grade. With a passion for the arts, Laura is an advocate for the arts in education and is currently the director of a theatre performance program for Kindergarten aged students!

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