Role play

I have a feeling that a major theme of this upcoming school year is going to be Playing New Roles.  I’ve posted about advising the literary journal at NLNRU; I’m also going to be doing advising for first-year students, although what this will involve, and what it will look like, is still undecided.   Meanwhile, over at Starfleet Academy, we have two new teachers coming in whose backgrounds are in college teaching, and I’ll be working closely with at least one of them, as she’s going to be teaching ninth grade.  I’ve already corresponded with her a little about planning and was pleased that I was able to tell her what I didn’t know going in: that teachers of the same English course at SA typically plan collaboratively, roughing out the calendar (“We’ll finish Hamlet by the end of November, and the paper will be due the first week of December”) and then usually whichever person completes her assignment/readings sheet first sends it to the others, who can revise and tweak as necessary for their own classes.  The actual class meetings can differ a great deal, as can all the assessments, but no one person bears all the burden of planning alone.  Also, looking at other teachers’ assignment sheets is a great way to learn about high-school planning. 

But how would you know all this before you began?  It probably doesn’t work this way everywhere, and I can’t think of anything even vaguely like it from my college teaching experience.   New Teacher can go through the year, if she wants, cribbing from Dr. Tea’s and my assignment sheets, and we will be perfectly happy to have her do so.  Usually what happens is that the person who gets nervous first about having the assignment sheet does it first; that usually isn’t me, but this year my sense of responsibility toward New Teacher might cause me to make up my sheets earlier.

So there you are: after a year and four months, I’m a veteran high school teacher, at least from New Teacher’s perspective.  Probably, though, I’m most valuable to her as a resource to the extent that I remember making the transition to high-school teaching and don’t just take for granted the way things work around SA.


2 responses to this post.

  1. What a fun new role to play, as a mentoring HS teacher! I got to mentor someone last year, a grad student finishing up her Ph.D. and wanting to move into independent HS teaching; I so much enjoyed helping her turn her CV into a resume and think through the differences between HS and college teaching … and now she has a job, and I like to think I had at least a hand in helping her make that transition. I hope you enjoy your mentorship (is that a word?) experience.

    I’m thinking my theme for the year is going to be the opposite of yours: NOT Playing New Roles, for the most part. I realized just yesterday that I’m not teaching any new classes this year


  2. Posted by meansomething on August 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    My big fear is that I will talk too much and, in the process, make too many assumptions about what her college teaching experience has been like. But if I keep this worry in mind, maybe I will be able to shut up and listen more.


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