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Anna's Perceptions Of Her Progress
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Anna's perceptions of her efforts and of her success as a teacher, however, were different from the reports I received. During February of her second year, Anna found me at the end of a day of observing student teachers. I could tell from her body postureâ€”shoulders slumped, eyes cast slightly downward, and a forced smileâ€”that something was bothering her. "What's up, Anna?" I asked as she collapsed into a desk. Glancing around to assure that we were alone, she said, "I don't know if I am going to teach again next year."
What shaped Anna's perceptions? In her first year, Anna worked in a new but already crowded school. Some teachers in every Tag Heuer Replica department traveled to teach in open rooms. Anna had been promised a classroom trailer, but until it arrived she pushed a cart from room to room. During her preparation period, she had a desk in someone else's classroom. Unfortunately, the other teacher taught a class that period. Anna reported, "It wasn't that she didn't want me there so much as I felt like I was imposing on her instructional time, and I couldn't really concentrate with her class in progress."
Anna had no real downtime, no chance to unwind before she began that careful reflecting about her teaching. She had no planning space that was hers. She felt like a burden on the established teachers; they had rooms of their own. During the second semester the trailer arrived. It was placed in the back of the school, far from the English department, with room for ten rows three desks deep. The school's hallways seemed wider. Extra desks remained stacked in one corner of the room, reaching to the ceiling.
Anna did have an assigned mentor, but the school had no formalized approach to mentoringâ€”no established meeting schedule or schedule of activities. Anna's mentor offered to help but never made formal plans with Anna. During year two Anna had no assigned mentor. Anna compared her experience to "pushing baby birds out of a nest. ... If I don't fly, it's my problem." Anna initiated all contact and felt like a disruption or a burden on the rest of the English faculty. She frequently asked for the physical items needed to create a teaching space; to ask for curriculum or planning assistance seemed like further imposition. She yearned for collaboration and assistance. So, she still asked for help, which increased her sense of imposition.
Anna claimed to struggle with classroom management. Remember, as a traveling teacher, she had to get to the classroom before she could manage the students. Imagine racing the students to class, barreling down crowded hallways pushing a cart that steers with all of the grace of a shopping cart. On arrival, she was careful not to displace any of the materials that the home-base teacher kept Breitling Replica Watches around the room, where there was uneasiness in nearly every activity. Could she adjust the overhead, use the computer, erase the board, rearrange the desks, and catch her breath before the bell rang? She had to manage a space before she could manage students.
During Anna's second year she remained in the narrow trailer. The classroom decorations finally matched her personality. She didn't have to race to class, but the students had to race to her. During her preparation time she was no longer an intruder into another teacher's space. Instead, she was truly alone. For adult contact she had to wander into the building. She still couldn't shake the feeling that she was an imposter, a pretend teacher.
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