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Am I a Fellow?

June 11, 2008 am30 7:32 am

No, but…

As I have been writing about recruitment and Teaching Fellows over the last few days

I have been thinking about my own start teaching.

I came to teaching before the Fellows existed, but looking not all that different from today’s Fellows. I was young (looked young?), white, smug, know-it-all, from out of town.

On the other hand, I did not possess a fancy degree (not very impressive public college), I wasn’t really that young. I grew up around union organizing, I’d met old-timers and heard stories, first hand, about how hard people fought for their rights, fought for unity. I may not have seen teaching as my ultimate career, but I was giving it a chance (no other immediate options). My uncle, 30+ year teaching veteran, 3-term chapter leader in Brooklyn (not Unity, not New Action), urged me to give it a try.

I may have been too quick to dismiss some other teachers, but on the other hand I gained a support network of informal mentors, senior teachers, who kept me out of trouble, taught me some vital management skills, and taught me to make a good worksheet.

There were 8 people hired in my department in 1997. Me. Four out of teaching within a few terms (change of career, change of career, couldn’t pass LAST, quit before being U’ed). One administrator. One teaching in the suburbs. And one passed away.

How was I different? Pro-union. Informal mentoring from senior teachers. Wasn’t thinking about my next career.

How much of that can we get to the current Fellows?

More in the next post.

25 (caught up with reader, dropping the numbers)

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