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Friday, November 17, 2006

How NWP Ruined My Life

This morning at the General Session, Executive Director of NWP, Richard Sterling, mentioned that NWP has ruined his life: he used to have a quiet life: taught a few classes, took the summers off. But NWP has changed all that.

As I listened, I thought “Yes! That’s right! NWP has ruined my life.” Here’s why:

When I participated in the summer institute in 2000, I was only a second year teacher. A newbie: young, idealistic. I dreamed of the day when I would know all the answers, when teaching would become easy and I could leave school at a normal hour and no longer grade essays at 4 in the morning. But NWP changed all that.

While I rarely grade essays at 4 in the morning anymore, teaching hasn’t become the easy, breezy job that my non-English colleagues who walk out the door at 2:35 make it appear. And I still don’t know all the answers. Even worse, I’m now the department chair, and I feel like I have more questions now that I ever have. How embarrassing!

What’s even worse is that, thanks to NWP, I’m not content to simply say I don’t know… Now I want to research my questions to find out! I didn’t become an English teacher to crunch numbers, but I have discovered a deep, dark, slightly embarrassing love for data, a love that I confess to my colleagues in a whisper with downcast eyes, flushed cheeks and a rapid heartbeat. Much the same way that my math colleagues confess that they enjoy reading.

Yet when a member of the NWP shared the results of their legacy study this morning, I realized that I am not alone. I saw hundreds of fellow data nerds around me frantically copying down her numbers: Half of all new teachers leave teaching in the first five years, but the median years of service for NWP teachers is 25 years. 98% of us stay in education, and 72% stay in the classroom. (By the way, if you’re a fellow data nerd, the next round of the Legacy Study will begin in January of 2007 for teachers who participated between 1995 and 2005. Look for it.)

So, I guess my dreams of making a six-figure salary and having a super cushy job have also been ruined by NWP… thanks to my involvement, I am now 22% more likely to stay in the classroom and 48% more likely to stay in education.

Thanks, NWP.

No, really.



Blogger cathy said...

bingo! You nailed that one. Enjoyed reading it! Cathy

11:51 PM  
Blogger Steorling said...

okay, you had me at...

"I dreamed of the day when I would know all the answers, when teaching would become easy and I could leave school at a normal hour and no longer grade essays at 4 in the morning."


*sigh* *giggle*

3:23 PM  

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