TWIE: New Teachers, Structure, and Education Discourse

I recently riffed on a post from TfA corps member Ryan Heisinger over at This Week in Ed:

First, Ryan’s post provides a lot of insight into what many new teachers are looking for when they enter the classroom for the first time.

He talks, for example, about appreciating his administrator’s “strong vision” for the school and its culture. This is something that is often lost in discussions dominated by veterans, but new teachers do often appreciate having a vision imposed on them (to one degree or another) because they haven’t yet fully developed visions of their own…

I don’t want to over-interpret his post, but when I read it I am reminded of my own – vague – ambitions when I first started teaching. What I wanted – and what I suspect that Ryan wants – was to provide students with things they weren’t getting from their teachers before, even if I didn’t know exactly what those things were…

This is the paradox for many new teachers: their visions are in many ways ambitious, but also sufficiently fuzzy that they can be satisfied by modest-but-distinct accomplishments.

Unfortunately, if you read it all the way through Ryan’s story also illustrates the pettiness and animosity that often dominates education discussions, especially on the internet.

Gary Rubinstein has since followed up at his own site.

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