When Pam from Desktop Learning Adventures told me the topic this month, I was ready to go. The advice given to me was the best ever, and it was given to me by one of my favorite people on this planet!
So, what is the best teaching advice I was ever given?
To keep my mouth shut for 4 years!
Sounds harsh, doesn't it?! But it wasn't. It was perfect. It fit me well. More importantly, it showed me exactly how well my professor and mentor really knew me!
This advice was given to me at the end of my mock interview just before my graduation with my Masters in Secondary Social Studies Education. Dr. Wilson knew I was an activist. And she understood my passion for calling attention to the wrongs in the world and my desire to make them right. Thankfully, she also knew the ways of the academic world. In concluding my interview she said the following:
"Michele, I'm not worried about your lesson plans, your classroom management, or your keeping your students engaged and motivated to learn. I have complete faith that you will be a wonderful teacher. I only have one piece of advice for you, but I want you to promise me you will follow it 100%. You have just got to keep your mouth shut for the first 4 years!"
Dr. Wilson was so right! And I did try very hard to take her advice. Now that I am older (and wiser), I can just imagine how she must have seen me in those days. I truly believed that I was personally charged to save every teen in the world and to educate them in the process. I had no doubts that I could, single-handedly, make it all right. And I truly believed that everyone would be behind me in support of my ventures.
While making tenure in the academic world is still a topic of contention for many, I still believe it gives some of us the charge to tackle those wrongs in the world that only we can see through the eyes of our classroom. That job security allows us to speak up without fear of repercussion. More importantly, it allows us to step out of the box - in the lessons we teach, the realities we are willing to face, and the challenges we are forced to take on - all in the hopes that we can make a difference in the life of a child!
Now, be sure to link through to take in all of the other great advice we tenured teachers have to share! And thanks to The ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for their organization of this great linky and all of the wonderful advice that's shared!