During this Covid 19 isolation period I have been catching up on my reading and I came across an article in the ASCD Education Update (Oct 2019) titled “Teaching Comes in Seasons”.
The author Chase Mielke talked about the careers of teachers coming in 4 seasons:
- Season 1 Culture Shock: the first 3 years of a teachers career filled with idealism yet confronted with pragmatism and amateurism mixed with ambition.
- Season 2 Development: now knowing administration trying to figure out not only what to teach but who you are as a teacher – 4th and 5th years
- Season 3 Pathfinding: in your sixth+ year and trying to be great at everything and the realisation that you can’t therefore giving yourself permission to find the few things that you want to do well and thereby cultivating your passion.
- Season 4 Pace yourself (now in your 10th + year) and now not being immune to burnout having mastered certain elements of teaching conserve energy without sacrificing quality.
Now I like the image of 4 seasons and love the four violin concertos by Vivaldi called the 4 seasons I’m not sure that his seasons matched my career. P.S. You might enjoy listening to Vivaldi as you read on:
- Season 1 Culture Shock (as described by Chase) was similar to mine however in the 70’s and 80’s we were encouraged to apply for differing schools which I did (6 schools over 15 years). Every time you went to a different school it was another culture shock for at least 6 – 12 months.
- Season 2 for me was was a combination of Chase’s Development and Pathfinding as I decided I needed more professional learning and went back to University. You see, as I discovered my passion, (teaching English well) I embarked on changing my teaching practice, which was a challenge for some colleagues, particularly as I was promoted during this 10 year period to a type of Master Teacher who in-serviced other teachers. Eventually I ended up in a resource centre (a place that held all the “best or most knowledgeable” teachers of English, Maths etc..)
- Season 3 didn’t revolve around pacing myself it was the season of school leadership for I first became an Assistant Principal and then over the next 28 years a Principal in 3 different communities. It was a constant series of culture shocks – development and pathfinding – as I sought to find and redefine my leadership with others. Yes I went back to University again and again both here in Australia and overseas in Boston. I never quite got to pacing myself , well perhaps in my last 18 months, which then lead onto
- Season 4 transitioning to other work as I retired from the teaching service and took up other leadership and teaching both in Universities (Deakin – teaching training, Harvard – coach accreditation in Data Wise for schools around the world) and in individual schools and networks. This was more my reflective period – listening to others, asking questions and making suggestions based on their data and culture.
My wondering on this analogue of careers over 4 seasons is that do we have more than 4 seasons and are they overlapping. Still it’s an interesting exercise to do. If you feel inclined I’d be interested in hearing about your “seasons”.