Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
After 15 years of teaching at the college level, I made a bold move and accepted a job teaching English in a local charter high school. In one respect, this move has been something of a spiritual return; what is now Glenview College Preparatory High School used to be the junior high Catalina North. My mother taught English at Catalina North before I was born, and many years later I attended as a 7th and 8th grader. Now I teach here, and my middle son is a senior here, making three generations involved on this campus.
But in another respect, teaching high school is a whole different ballgame. I knew that it would be different, and yet it is still more different than I expected. While in many ways the teaching is the same as it’s been for most of my career, in other ways it is a whole other animal. Parent contacts, detention, - there are so many small details that are not on the college professor’s radar. And the students come into class with a different set of expectations and abilities. I can clearly recognize the college students many of them will become, but they’re still obscured behind a cloudy screen of high schoolness.
So I renew my commitment to my craft, to my students, and to the value of education and knowledge. By embracing the challenge of teaching in a new and unfamiliar context, I get to see education from a new perspective and deepen my understanding of this art.