Disclaimer....see #bridgetfail explained on Day 2. Continuing on in that fashion.
Clarity Precedes Confidence
I think this statement explains why I over plan, over think, over analyze (and maybe suffer from some anxiety) literally everything. I want to know what to expect in every scenario, plan for it, conquer it and land on top of the situation in order to be confident. The clarity I get from my anxiety filled ways allows me to enter a rather unknown situation with confidence.
In trying to find our why/passion/purpose of course the one of my dreaded questions reared its ugly head. Who was your favorite teacher in school and why. Supposedly this tells you a lot about what kind of teacher you have tried to be. It helps you see the why to your own career path. The thing is I truly LOVED all my teachers. I can't think of any I did not respect or like. Obviously this is situational. I mean I was not "pleased" with Mr. Henry Cooke when he wrote me a detention for being tardy to Physics when I was literally two steps from crossing the threshold to the classroom. Consequently this prompted about a week of my pouting and not speaking to him or the entire time I was in class. I am sure he actually enjoyed that reprieve while I was mortified I had to serve a detention. This was second one in my high school career. The other was when I was a freshman and it was for chewing gum in Coach Delong's Health class. His wife Mrs. Lisa Cooke was another favorite. She was in the sciences and I had her for Biology 1&2. Around Halloween she connected science and superstition. I was privileged enough to emulated that for a few years when I first began teaching. Then state testing took over governing every classroom moment and I could not risk taking any time away from the state adopted standard for this high stakes test to allow students to express their experiences and opinion on things like ghosts, paranormal, and the supernatural. In reflection, she built connections and relationships this way. Sneaky teacher trick, Mrs. Cooke. Much love for ya! Then there was Mr. Jerry Webb. He was actually in my Mother's graduating class of 1957. Needless to say a life long small town resident. I don't know his actual IQ but can assume it is/was astronomical. He was the Quiz Bowl (now more commonly known as Academic Team) coach. He would have prep books for those competitions sitting around his room. If you asked him ANY and I mean ANY of those questions he could recite the answer. Sometimes he would recite them backwards just to get a rise in use telling him he wasn't right. I had Mr. Webb for freshmen science and for Chemistry 2 as a senior. (I had Ms. Sally Williams/Ferguson for Chem 1 and I can talk about her too in a moment.) Anyhoo, why do I normally choose Mr. Webb as my go-to when talking about favorite teachers? During my freshman science course, he let me roam the halls. This sound fluffy but after becoming a teacher, I realized it was his way of showing me that he saw my potential. Here is how. This was a true mixed ability class; highest of the high achievers and lowest of the low achievers. In an effort to motivate students Mr. Webb would keep track of class participation with some dot/point system which equated to a grade for the day...this was supposed to evoke competition among students and make the low achievers want to answer more. The grade was apparently 'adjusted' based on who answered the most that day, like a daily curve. For us type A TAG student types, it caused used to literally sit the entire class period with our hand in the air dying to be called on. Insert mental picture of kid bouncing on his/her booty, hand high in the air going "Ooo ooo ooo, pick me, pick me." Now imagine that student fading after 45 minutes of that behavior and rarely being called on. Day in and day out. Needless to say, after days of the excited participation behavior for minimal reinforcement, those students turn into some one slouched in their seat with their arm laying across the top of their head. Repeat no reinforcement. The students then just sit there; present, ready to reply but not motivated in any way to initiate. Well, after time, Mr. Webb figured out without me saying anything about being unhappy with the situation. On the class days when these participation points were being earned, Mr. Webb started sending me on errands around the school. Many of these revolved around the Quiz Bowl team and other organizations he dealt with. But I do recall one day where he sent me to get a teacher signature on a piece of notebook paper on a clipboard from every teacher on the second floor. The paper had no title and those were my instructions. I actually verbalize my 'why' when he gave me my instructions. he replied with, "Just go." So I did. (On a side note, Mr. Webb had many quirks that those who knew him understood and loved him for so when I interrupted class of every teacher on the second floor to obtain their signature for no real reason, they would ask why and when I replied that Mr. Webb had sent me for it, they would shrug, shake their head, sign the paper and send me on my way.) It then hit me that Mr. Webb was literally just sending me out so I did not have to sit through the agony of the participation points day. He would also award me with a matched highest points earned that day. He knew I knew the content and was ready to participate but not to over shadow those who were unmotivated he took me out of the equation which made everyone happier all around. I suppose this might be a convoluted way to choose a favorite but the fact that he saw my potential, had faith in my abilities and allowed me to avoid frustration. For this I have to choose him. It was a uniqueness that he afforded me and pretty much only me. There were a couple of other students who got to join from time to time on my "missions" but I was the consistent. It made me feel respected and special but in an academic sense. I had proven my ability and was trusted not to let it slip. Many years later, I visited my hometown and talked to Mr. Webb in the press box at the football game. I was an early career teacher and was complaining the usual teacher complaints. He reassured me that those complaints have always been there. We all just keep fighting the good fight and he was glad I was on his team.
One of the other 'take aways' from day 3 was the fact we will need to build up how other people perceive us. I can't recall what protocol we were doing but the story I ended up sharing was the one that follows. At my school I had served as a school based mentor for several years. One of the new-to-us teachers had taught several places throughout the district and now was at our school. This teacher had credentials out the wazoo. In looking at her resume, any school who would pass her over would be a grand fool. I enjoyed working with this teacher in the beginning of the year. I mean she was science content, had great energy and an infectious smile. While things were going well with me I had several teachers and other colleagues approach me with concerns about this individual. I served as their sounding board. I had not had any of the experiences they referenced. So all I could do was keep my eyes and ears open. One day after school, I had something I needed to deliver to her room. When I went in she had a student of mine in her room tutoring him. I completed my delivery, said hello to my student and went on my way. The next morning I went to let this teacher know that I didn't even know said student needed help and I was right there in my room if he had wanted to come to see me. I apologized he took her after school time when I was available but he had not checked with me so I just didn't know. I told her that if she was going to tutor him, I could give her a grade report and his missing assignments because it didn't mattered who he worked with as long as he was comfortable and it increased his achievement. She thanked me and I thanked her for working with him. Well, later that day I get a phone call from the Assistant Principal who resided in our building to come see him when I could. I did. He proceeded to tell me the story this lady told him of how I came into her room SCREAMING at her and threatened that she should never dare to tutor one of my students without asking me. Once I picked my mouth up off the ground, I told him what had really happened. He said he did not believe her as that did not sound like ANYTHING I would do. He told me not to worry about it and our meeting concluded. Needless to say, I worried about it. I worried about it a lot. I knew they teacher would be telling any and every one she could that pack of lies. So I went to see my principal. I told him the entire story. Of course the entire time I had to fight back tears. (Again, contrary to what it may appear being that this is my second mention of me crying, I am not an overly emotional person but I am the kind of person that when she gets angry will bawl my eyes out. Not a great trait to have professionally and I am working on it but at least I have feeling, right?) Anyhoo, He says to me, "Bridget, calm down. Without saying anything out loud when you hear that teacher's name what thoughts come to mind?" I started to open my mouth wide to speak. He stopped me short and said, "Without saying anything. Only think your thoughts." A gap of about 7 seconds passed. He then said, "That is what every one who has actually had to work with her thinks too. Don't let it bother you." Now whether this teacher meant for this to be the overall perception of her or not, it was. She never did anything to prove anyone different either. Perceptions count and will affect how people deal with you. Be cognizant of the perception people have of you as an IC.