August of 2000 found me eagerly awaiting the opportunity to teach in Atlanta Public Schools. I was very excited and anxious even though I would only be assisting. At that time, all teachers in the system met at either a high school or what was then the Civic Auditorium for a morning session of orientation. In the afternoon, teachers reported to their assigned buildings. I believe, that year, the faculty at my school provided lunch in the building. After which, we prepared our rooms for the first day when our students reported. An experienced teacher, but also new to that building, greeted me enthusiastically. In the process of becoming acquainted, we discovered we both attended the University Presbyterian Church. We became instant friends and that relationship continued until her death in 1988.
My first assignment in Seattle netted me a school located on the north side of Atlanta. There, I had eighth grade content subjects, as I recall, American History and English, each morning and six music classes every afternoon. When it came to the English class, I fared very well, but history was a burden and I'm surprised the children didn't rebel. Even so, we made it.
After having taught for only four years, my mind was always alert to benefit from the experiences of the "veterans" in the classroom. They would always use their gimmicks and techniques for years which worked for them, I soon learned what became successful for them, didn't satisfy me. Saving the lesson plans, tests of whatever year after year prevented any semblance of creative teaching since each class; each year had different pupils with different needs or ideas. Besides, subject matter itself doesn't remain stagnant. New concepts develop; new ways of presenting information for pupil interest and the honing of one's own skills must develop and change.
One incident stands out in my mind which proves the importance of that "personal touch." The old-fashioned desks... [continues]
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