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Aug 04

What’s your reputation?

I was reminded this week that we all have a reputation. When you work in a school, it’s just a fact. People will talk about you – parents, students, other teachers, administrators, etc. Even though I knew this in theory, it wasn’t something I have really spent a lot of time considering. During pre-planning and open house events this week as we prepare for back to school, the idea of my reputation became a lot more tangible. Here are some comments that got me thinking.

  • My principal called me the “resident astronaut” when sharing about my summer adventures and receiving a NASA SOI grant.
  • Former students returned to see me. I’m not just talking about students who I had last year, but also students who are now in high school. Do you know how amazing it is for a high schooler to come back and want to talk to their sixth grade teacher!
  • Students from last year came back excited to see me. One brother and sister pair in 8th and 7th grade came to see me, but most importantly to ask about space and aeronautics club for this year!
  • I have a larger number of younger siblings of previous students this year. Parents shared they were excited to see me on the class schedule.
  • I overheard one student say to another while waiting to speak to me that I seemed nice and was excited.
  • When I asked several students if they had any questions for me, they said no. They had heard all about the class from their elementary teacher. There are a couple of teachers who had told them about my class, and some students were even very familiar already with the class web site.
  • My teammate shared with me after open house, that when he saw that I was a student’s science teacher he told the student he heard I’m “da bomb” science teacher. He also told them they must be smart because my class is challenging.

During open house on Thursday, I spoke to so many people. I had a record turn out. I had 29 students in my homeroom. During open house, one more student was added to my homeroom. All 30 students/family members attended open house. Additionally, many (perhaps most) of the students I will be teaching and advising stopped by to say hi, get information, and introduce themselves. It was an incredible turn out. At the end of the day., I was exhausted, but I was also pumped. There’s nothing like amazing conversations and a good reputation proceeding you to really get you excited about a school year and to encourage you in the choices you have made.

However, it takes work and cognizant thought about the continued choices you make and the actions you take to have a good reputation. It’s definitely not just something I can take for granted.

Have you thought recently about your reputation? How do your colleagues, students, and parents talk about you? What advice would you give to other teachers about developing and maintaining a good reputation?

I think for me it all comes down to one thing. Find your passion! When you are passionate about something and love what you are doing, everyone around you knows! I love science, but more importantly, I love teaching students to love science. I think that is the anchor of my reputation. What’s the anchor of your reputation?

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