Q: What is your biggest regret as an educator?
A: Unfortunately, I know that answer right away. I have often been unwilling to think outside the box and deal with potential conflicts, even when I know that my current situation isn't what is best for the students or me. My most vivid memory of a situation like this came early in my teaching career. In my first teaching assignment, I was paired with the other fourth grade teacher at my school. We divided up the curriculum and taught both sections of fourth grade each day. We made an effort to be as similar to one another as possible. The main difficulty in this situation is that my personality and temperament were nothing like my teaching partner. She was strict, in a traditional school way, while I was more laid back and easy-going. Often times, I was dissatisfied with the tone of our classroom environment, but I allowed the situation to continue because I was too fearful of dealing with the seemingly inevitable fallout of our conflict. Since those early years of teaching career, I have learned that most of the time my fears about conflict have been overblown. Even if my concerns were accurate, as they were in some cases, dealing with the effects of the conflict was more beneficial in the long run than allowing the status quo to remain in place. As I embark on a new path in my classroom, I'm expecting some bumps along the way, but I am excited to see where my new direction for my classroom takes my students, their learning, and myself.