A Piece of my Background

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I had to ask a teacher friend of mine how he got into the role he was in. I decided to take time to briefly answer the question for myself. My response is as follows:

 

For me, I knew it almost all along. I would sit in every class and I would think, "I can teach better than this." Then I would realize, "How could I? I don't enjoy learning it, how could I enjoy teaching it?" I had yet to learn the lesson that 99.9% of the time, enjoyment is a choice.

 

When it came to my 'big life decision' of what I wanted to do with my life, I didn't have much going for me except faith. Thankfully, that was enough for me. Otherwise, I would have thrown myself into a pile of anxiety attacks.

 

Senior year. High school autos. My first shop class. I loved it. I realized my call to teaching had finally met a receiver at the other end. As Mr. Stidham showed me what I was learning, I was hooked. 

I wanted to do what he did. Encourage learning through true, actual, authentic demonstration and experimentation.

 

I felt limited, though, in my lack of blue-collar experience. I was not afraid of work, my white collar father taught me not to be so. He also taught me, though, that by taking high school autos, I "better not grow up to be a damn grease monkey." 

 

I think my pursuit of teaching was a relief to him. My blue collar interests were met by a somewhat white collar career. With this background and this oversight in my adolescent life, I felt the need to create a hybrid of the two. I found the college I attended, NMU, based on a search that filtered both a school that offered an education degree, as well as, an automotive degree. (There were only three schools that made it through that filter: SIU, a school in Kansas, and NMU)

 

I chose it and I pursued every "blue-collar" endeavor NMU had to offer. That included SAE Baja in my book.

 

I participated and I grew. In the meantime, I worked fishing salmon, in a mine, on an organic farm, in a small engine shop, in a machine shop, and in a factory. All of those positions were short-term, and by that, I mean less than a year. 

 

I had finally gotten a student teaching role in a CADD classroom, and I felt a level of impostor syndrome. I accepted a position teaching at the same school--metalworking and woodworking--and feelings of it remained. I have moved on to a different school district and I teach under the course title Industrial Arts. Impostor syndrome moments still happen, but I've found a way to make it a tool. It is a tool for teaching and learning, by modeling what is craftsmanship while also questioning practices based on lack of experience and what it looks like to move forward anyway. It offers students' a rare glimpse at adult humility.

 

I am, in fact, to a point that I wonder, "Once I am pro, will I teach as effectively?"

 <Teach with the Inner Child Alive and Well                                 There's a Story in Every Teacher>