May 2, 2017

Mid-Career Teacher

I see it in the eyes of my students. I see it in the conversations I’m having with my colleagues.

I am no longer a new teacher.

I’m no longer the young buck in a school of old stags.

No one is looking at me and trying to decide if I’m a teacher or a student, anymore. (Ok, in reality, I don’t think that ever applied to me, only in my mind.)

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m a mid-career teacher. Slowly.

But what does that really mean?

To me it means I’ve got experience to know when something works and when it doesn’t, but I’m also at risk of getting caught in the rut of ‘well, it worked last year’. It means I’ve got a shred of influence with my colleagues because they’ve seen me in action, but my perspective comes with the baggage of past statements. It means I’m settled at my school and yet, starting to look for ways to “change things up”.

I’ve even caught myself saying, “Students aren’t as _________ as they used to be.”

This is the point in a teacher’s career where they start getting offered fewer opportunities because they are no longer the upstart.

The realization that advancement means administration for many means this is the job you’ll be doing for the next twenty years. This is also the point where switching careers becomes the most difficult. You are “locked” into the job in many respects.

How does the system support teachers at all phases of their career cycle? But specifically, those of us who find ourselves in the murky middle?

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