The second anniversary is teaching. In 1996, I received my teaching credential and was hired on at West Hills High School. It has been a long, and at times, strange trip, but overall it has been great. I would have never guessed my career would look like it does.
For my own sake, I have tried to recapture those ten years. It will come in two installments.
The First Five…
Year 1: Technology Fundamentals – 3/5’s – taught one section on LCII Macs and two sections on 286 PCs – in 1996, I was teaching Word Perfect 5.1. The program I typed my reports on in 1984. Good times.
Year 2: Geography and Journalism. Hired into the social studies department – sort of. Actually, I was appointed. There were three positions, the department hired their two student teachers, I was hired by the principal. I found out a few years later that was sort of forced upon them. Great. I guess I worked out ok in the long run. This principal tried to micromanage the school, by year 4 the staff would drive her out.
Geography was far, far away from my ideal class. Freshmen. Enough said.
I had pursued photojournalism in college and almost went in that direction after I graduated from college. I was the third journalism teacher in three years, it was an interesting transition, especially because the teacher who it was taken away from two years before was in my department. Teaching this class helped me totally transition from that career choice. My first journalism class is one of my most memorable.
Year 3: World History and Journalism. I was desperate to get rid of geography. Didn’t like the curriculum and I knew teaching freshmen would drive me from teaching. My major had been U.S. History, but world history was better then geography. Anything, but geography. In a modern world history class, I barely got to WWII. I remember the two days I taught about the Holocaust, were days that there were bomb threats at my school only a month after Columbine – almost a 50% absent rate. That year my journalism staff won all sorts of awards, was probably the peak of the paper at the school (to this day).
Year 4: World History and Journalism. Started working closely with my good friend Scott. We would spend the next two years collaborating on the world history curriculum. The foundation that we set in those two years still drive both of our curriculums. This year was an amazing journalism class. I had weeded out the deadweight, found funding for new computers, and really connected with the staff.
Year 5: United States History and World History.
I was planning on starting graduate school and starting a family so I gave up journalism – one of the toughest decisions of my career. In return I was able to get a section of U.S. History. When I decided to be a teacher, I envisioned myself teaching United States History – it was my major after all. I only had one section, but it was a great class. I threw myself into the curriculum and had a great year. My oldest son was born in December.
Years 6-10 coming soon…
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