Teaching Tip: Count your blessings! There are no guarantees.

When I took the position at John Green Primary, I never expected that, two years later, I would be the author of this eleven-page letter. What teacher would? John Green was a nice school in a nice, small-town neighborhood, in the part of the county where plenty of new people were moving in but where everyone still seemed to know everybody. This was the type of town where a teacher could count on a busy PTA, soccer moms, fall festivals, and mini-vans. Parents were generally involved and supportive, and they had high expectations for their children, even those kids with special needs.

I was young, newlywed, and a fresh-faced graduate of an alternative certification program. I had been a school technology coordinator in Tennessee and a camp counselor at a summer program for children with special needs (including many who were in foster care), but this was my first time to have my own classroom and my own students.  In many respects I had won the "teacher lottery," finding such an ideal campus and my desired teaching role after just a few interviews, and I was desperate to prove myself worthy of this opportunity!  I feared my colleagues and my students' parents would instantly notice my inexperience and feel the school had made a serious hiring mistake.

However, despite my new-teacher nervousness, my social support system (husband, parents, friends) and the school's veteran teachers assured me I would be fine. John Green Primary quickly became a second home and lived up to most every pre-conception I held about a small-town, middle-class elementary school.  I realized that my training was beneficial, and my prior-experience in schools and summer camps was invaluable! Perhaps excepting my 45 minute drive to and from the school, the situation could hardly have been more perfect.