In my Stories of Teaching capstone class, we were assigned a memoir called Educating Esme. The book is essentially the diary of an eccentric, non-traditional, yet successful teacher (by my standards and standardized test standards). Esme has a personality that is VERY different from mine, yet I can see a lot of myself in her...and from our class discussions, so can many of my classmates. I pulled out a few pieces of inspiration from the book...things that I can relate to and things I want to remember as I begin my first year teaching:
Q: "What kind of classroom environment will you create?"
A: " Do you mean physical, emotional, or educational?" (p.4)
"I don't work for you. I work for the children." (p. 52)
"They know I would never let them fail. That's why they do what I ask, no matter how much they complain." (p.69)
"I can only do what I know is realistic for me to be able to do." (p. 113)
"If I had a child, I'd want her for my child's teacher. Isn't that the real litmus test?" (p.139).
"Children rise to meet our expectations, good or bad." (p. 151)
"When someone asks me, 'How was your day?,' I never know what to answer. I have thirty-one days every day, a different day with each child." (p. 160)
"People snicker, 'Those who can't do, teach.' But, oh, how right they are. I could never, ever do all I dream of doing. I could never, ever be an opera star, a baseball umpire, an earth scientist, an astronaut, a great lover, a great liar, a trapeze artist, a dancer, a baker, a buddha, or a thousand other aspirations I have had, while having only been given one thin ticket in this lottery of life! In the recessional, as I watch them, mine, the ones I loved, I overflow with the joyous greed of a rich man counting coins. Wrongly I have thought teaching has lessoned me at times, but now I experience a teacher's greatest euphoria, the knowledge like a drug that will keep me: Thirty-one children. Thirty-one chances. Thirty-one futures, our futures. It's an almost psychotic feeling, believing that part of their lives belong to me. Everything they become, I also become. And everything about me, they helped create" (p. 194).