When I think back to my first year of teaching, I cringe. I probably wasn’t a horrible teacher but I certainly was young and in survival mode. I compare my first year of teaching to a first draft of my writing: the content is tentative, the ideas formulating and the art and craft not yet developed.
During each year of teaching I further explore my pedagogy, discover new tricks and become more imaginative: ultimately, I refine the subtleties and nuances of my work. When I move from draft to draft in my writing, I hone my ideas, reorganize my thoughts, insert a little creativity and strive to perfect my wording. The changes I make are sometimes subtle, sometimes drastic.
My teaching and writing are both challenged and stretched by the ideas I read. My teaching and writing are both affected greatly by the students I encounter each day. Both are a work in progress and most certainly improve with innovation and reflection.
As a friend said to me recently, a writer is never truly finished a piece of writing: there is alway more to add, delete, fiddle with and finagle. Hopefully, this is also true for our teaching. Good teachers are never truly finished learning and improving their craft… for that is certainly what good teaching is.