Throughout my teaching career, there have been countless times when I’ve questioned my abilities, or if I had what it took to be a good teacher (Was I in the right profession?). The big question I asked myself was whether I would be accepted by my students, their parents/guardians, and my colleagues with my being autistic? Could I be a successful, working professional?!
Recently I had my first formal observation at the school I teach at. As per any new important thing in my life, I recognized that the angst and anticipation of having to take on this feat clouded my mind. I was very eager to prove to my principal what I was capable of as a teacher. This was especially important to me because the previous school I was employed at hindered my teaching abilities, as well as damaged my spirit.
Anxious to get this done, I scheduled my observation date as soon as possible. After pondering my ideas for a lesson, it was actually one of my students who inspired the class project I selected (for which I was truly appreciative). This brings up a certain quality that I believe all teachers should possess: the ability to let students have a voice in their learning. When I put my own lessons into effect, I always take it upon myself to frequently ask my students what they want to see in a unit/lesson or how they could best grasp the lesson being taught. Only THEY can know the best teaching strategies to maximize their potential!
The day of the observation, I was very eager to get it done; good thing it was scheduled for first period! Long story short, it went very well; I would even say that it was as close to flawless as one could get (humbly speaking)! The following day, I met with my boss for the post-evaluation review. The feedback was informative, gratifying and uplifting: hearing about how well I taught the lesson, as well as the positive impact I’ve made on the students, staff, and community in such a short amount of time really solidified that I am accomplishing true good work.
Looking back over the last year and a half of my full-time teaching, I feel gratified to realize that what I feared for so long was nonexistent. Parents, as well as their children, have ALWAYS accepted me and communicated the positive contributions I was making within the school community. As I move forward in my teaching career, I plan to maintain my humility and keep my ears wide open for critique, feedback, and helpful suggestions. And the biggest lesson that I have learned thus far? Mistakes are not the “end-all/be-all” AS LONG AS ONE LEARNS FROM THEM! I have full confidence and assurance that I am, indeed, a good teacher.