This is my 25th year of teaching science. And it’s the most enjoyable year in my teaching career, mainly because I’m teaching at MMA.
I’ve taught in several schools in those 25 years, including ten years in public school. I ended up leaving public schools behind, for much the same reasons that so many teachers leave public schools – politics, ever-changing requirements, pressure from students and parents and administration, etc. Though private schools generally don’t pay teachers as well as public schools, the trade-off in peace of mind and other factors make pay of secondary importance when a teacher seeks a private school teaching position.
So I’ve spent 15 years as a private school science teacher – 7 years at another academy, and 8 years here at MMA. I wouldn’t choose any other academy to teach for over MMA. Reasons? Several come to mind:
First, I get to construct my courses according to methods that I know work, and not according to a state test, or a curriculum dictated by authorities who have never been with my students, or my school. I am able to go at a pace most beneficial to my students, and take the time to reinforce important material rather than having to move on to other topics regardless of whether or not my students have grasped what I’ve taught so far.
Second, I have wonderful colleagues who know and teach the same students, and who genuinely care about their growth in maturity as well as knowledge. I know what my colleagues are teaching, and we can collaborate on units easily. My colleagues are always available for ideas, help, and support.
Third, I have an administration that fully supports me, and in whom I have every confidence that they care about, and interact with, the very students for which MMA exists in the first place. The administration is open to creative ideas, and supports our teachers in much more than mere material ways.
Finally, it’s all about the cadets. Small classes naturally make teaching easier, and allow teachers to truly get to know each student. But it’s the nature of MMA’s cadets that brings me here with a smile each day. They’re like any other teens today, but watching them adapt to the structure of MMA, and seeing them overcome life obstacles of all kinds just makes me want to adopt them all. A student who has graduated MMA is far more prepared for adapting to the ups-and-downs of life than any public school student, because he or she has learned self-discipline. Something that will take them farther than mere book learning. They have every right to be proud of being a cadet at MMA. And I have every reason to be proud to have taught them.
Yeah, I like teaching here at MMA. Think I’ll stay a bit longer. Like, until retirement. Then I’ll visit a lot. It’s hard to walk away from a good thing.