Meditations on Being a Rookie Teacher

Year 1 is in the books!

All Saints Chapel at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas

All Saints Chapel at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas

I've submitted all my grades. I've said my goodbyes to colleagues and students. I've readied my office for the summer. I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans at 2 pm on a Friday. It's time for summer vacation.

Honestly, I don't know how I survived my rookie year as a high school teacher while also finishing my dissertation. I do know I couldn't have done it without the loving support and patience of my wife, Miranda. Also, my friend, mentor, and the Chair of the Religion Department, Fr. Nate Bostian, who guided me when I needed it, but also gave me a lot of space to make mistakes, try new things, and figure out my style/approach.

Next year I'll be a sophomore teacher. Let's hope there's no slump. I'm confident that I'll be a much better educator next year.

Over the summer I'll be writing a few reflections. I don't have any particular plans for how to pace this, but I do want to use the exercise of writing to formulate my thoughts on the year that was. These are the topics I plan on covering:

- Being Ready to Succeed...and Fail
- Adopting Institutional Identity
- Pedagogical Goals
- Being Authentically Christian and Pluralistic
- Being Methodist and Episcopalian
- Teaching the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
- Teaching the New Testament
- Teaching World Religion
- Using Authority Correctly
- Balancing Academic Rigor with Play
- Balancing an Energetic Classroom with a Serene Learning Environment
- Advising Freshmen (Rising Sophomores)
- Classroom Culture and the Use of Technology
- Classroom Culture and Diversity of Opinion
- Classroom Culture and Corrective Measures

Hopefully what I have to say will benefit future rookie teachers, especially those teaching high school and/or religious studies. Some topics are very specific to yours truly, but this is my way of meditating/reflecting.