I obtained my first teaching certificate in 1997 upon my graduation from UGA. I taught for one year at Twiggs County Comprehensive High School and then for three years at Warner Robins High School in Middle Georgia. Upon relocating to North Georgia, I did not immediately find a teaching job. I did find a temporary teaching job as a daycare facility’s pre-K teacher, and though I was not certified to teach early childhood or primary school students, I believe I was the only certified teacher at the center. I worked for two years at Snellville Middle School following my pre-K job, after which I ended up back in high school (where I belong) at the Weber School. This is my third year at Weber.
I have a theory, and I am interested to see what any of you think of it. My theory is that it takes a teacher two years teaching at the same school, same subjects, in order to feel completely comfortable — like a competent veteran. I have noticed that each time I worked at a new school, I felt like a first-year teacher all over again. Each school as a different curriculum, culture, climate, and system of rules. It seems to take me two years to get all that down. After this point, working as a teacher seems easier. I already have, for example, handouts, quizzes, tests, and other materials already prepared, so it takes me less time to plan. I have already had time to teach material and learn what works well and what doesn’t. I get to know what my students will most likely already know or will already have done by the time they come to me. It’s a wonderful feeling. It really makes me feel more organized. I also feel like I get assignments graded more quickly — probably because creating materials takes less time.
For only the second time in a career in its tenth year, I feel that sense of comfort that comes with working at the same school for the third year in a row. What about you? How long do you think it takes you to feel comfortable and completely competent at a teaching post?