I loved my student teaching experience my senior year of college. I split time for that semester between a local public school and a Christian school and graduated with both my degree and an excitement about teaching. It was fun! It was something I was good at! I was going to be a history teacher! Whoo-hoo!
It took one year at a downtown Cincinnati charter school to completely vanquish all these warm and fuzzies and jade me to the whole process. Granted, it was probably not a great place to form lasting opinions, but fresh as I was, the wolves had their way. The school specifically targeted students with substance abuse in their background but that were “committed” to changing their lives; in reality, it felt like we took whoever we could get to pay the bills. I had four hour-and-a-half preps with zero curriculum. In some cases, I even had to track down my own textbooks. The students were, predictably, unruly and disrespectful and uninterested and very possibly armed and dealing. It would not be a stretch to say that it was a view of depravity I had not previously been exposed to.
I eventually taught at a public school’s alternative program (not quite as dangerous or unorganized, but computer-based and servicing students who equally didn’t want to be there) and another downtown charter-school (yikes).
Then I became a stay-at-home-dad.
I say all this to give context to the following: I love teaching at Highlands Latin Cincinnati. This hybrid-style homeschooling experience (I teach one day a week; my kids attend two days) was new to us this year, and to make it work for our family they gave me four classes to teach. Each one an hour-and-a-half long. Yep. Four hour-and-a-half preps (sound familiar?).
Basic Latin. Famous Men of Rome. Sixth grade composition. Fifth grade literature.
I have absolutely loved it. Aside from quality curriculum and great leadership and the perfect blend of homeschooling and traditional schooling (a big plus for our kids), I have simply enjoyed teaching these classes to these kids.
I know, I know: it’s easy to enjoy teaching good kids in small class sizes. True enough. None of my students are bringing weapons to school and none of them are making more than I am selling drugs at recess. They have solid families and solid moral structures. They have been taught the value of education. They want to be there and enjoy the school-days we have together.
It’s an environment that screams “education! learning! growth!” and I am so glad to be a part of it.
Thanks Highlands. I love teaching.
NOTE: To be fair, I must give credit to Classical Conversations (a homeschool co-op) for some early work in restoring my love of teaching. We attended there for four years before coming to Highlands, and I taught all four years in a much more limited role. It was great and I loved the classroom again!