I remember the five months I spent as a 3rd grade teacher on my ‘first teaching assignment’, albeit as a long-term substitute. These five months were to cover the teacher who went on maternity leave and never returned to her teaching position. Fortunately for me really as I was able to finish the school year with a group of 3rd graders many of which I had the pleasure of teaching again later as I moved to 6th grade. This long-term sub position was the catalyst that ignited my teaching career, and at the same school. The Principal at the time asked me to stay at the school. We clicked. She was a great influencer as Admin, both with school parents and District personnel.
Our Principal, Susan, asked me at the end of the year if I would be willing to teach 6th grade the following year. We were going to be the first school in the District to offer a 1:1 laptop pilot program for 6th grade only. It was a very progressive move for the time. I jumped at that opportunity being that I was a self-proclaimed tech geek. What a combination of tech awesomeness for me as I really began my teaching career.
My new grade level teammates in 6th grade were Kim and Suzanne and I taught with them for 8 years. It has been the best span of teaching time that I have to date with a grade level team. Not to say that I have less now, my teaching colleagues are simply different in personal chemistry. Suzanne, Kim, and I referred to ourselves as “The Team”. We would sometimes refer to our teaching bond as a ‘well-oiled machine’.
We were different than most grade level groups in that each one of us were grown adults. Our personalities complemented one another. No drama. We understood one another. We were each aware of, and worked with, one another’s quirks. We leaned on one another to fill any voids in our teaching strengths and weaknesses. We shared stories of life and family with one another. We shared in family joys with new grand-baby births. We shared in family sorrows with passings of parents and pets. We experienced our professional and personal lives together as The Team for eight years.
While I was the younger of the three, I was still an adult in my 40’s. I remember when both Suzanne and Kim turned ’50’. I remember that period of my teaching career as if it were yesterday, and I remember it fondly.
We relished this time together as we knew our colleague trio was finite, and one day there would be change.
Suzanne and Kim have long since retired and I am getting oh-so close myself, to ’60’. Crazy to think of that reality but wondrous to think back on such a wonderful time together as The Team that we were. The best thing is that we still keep in contact with one another. I have always enjoyed my friendship with these two ladies. I think of them often and will always hold dear the significant impact that both of them had on my teaching career as an educator. They helped ‘shape’ me into the teacher I am today. Suzanne, Kim, and I, together as The Team.