South Carolina ASCD Blog

As educators, we see our profession hailed in many different contexts and media:  in blogs, movies, the news, and even TV commercials.  More often than not, pop culture portrays our profession from a vantage point that differs slightly--if not dramatically--from our day-to-day realities as educators. (In 2010, one example that struck Melissa, an elementary teacher at the time, was a Quaker Oatmeal commercial that showed a teacher enjoying her oatmeal breakfast in the serenity of her empty classroom with sunshine streaming in as she read a book.  Apparently this teacher-actress didn’t face coming to school before the sun rose, reporting immediately to morning duty to supervise a cafeteria full of early-arriving students, and eating breakfast at home to make sure she actually had time to eat!)

Today in South Carolina, the need for more quality educators continues to grow for a number of reasons: educators retiring, schools and districts working to make class sizes more manageable for teachers, and an increasing number of communities that are experiencing unprecedented growth and development. Currently, it is estimated that South Carolina’s post-secondary institutions graduate only half the number of teachers needed to serve in our state’s schools and classrooms.

Today in South Carolina, the need for more quality educators continues to grow for a number of reasons: educators retiring, schools and districts working to make class sizes more manageable for teachers, and an increasing number of communities that are experiencing unprecedented growth and development. Currently, it is estimated that South Carolina’s post-secondary institutions graduate only half the number of teachers needed to serve in our state’s schools and classrooms.

I started my teaching career in January 2001. Since I started my position as a high school ELA teacher mid-year, I already faced challenges: first, the students I inherited expected me to be like their former teacher. Clearly I was not, and this did not sit well with some students, which led to behavioral problems that I was not fully equipped to handle as a first-year teacher working hard to hammer down classroom management. Next, since I did not have the opportunity to start the school year with the students, I often times felt like the odd-person out. Couple all this with being new to the profession – I felt alone and isolated for that first semester. Other incidents during that one semester made me question my purpose and myself: Am I supposed to be here? Am I meant to be a teacher? Do I have what it takes to be an effective teacher?

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