Although I was not a world-renowned educator, I would like to believe that I eventually found my voice (or unique significance) and achieved a moderate level of greatness. During this whole process of becoming great, the varied experiences in my career as a teacher deepened my knowledge and skills, strengthening my resolve to improve my craft. In that process, I went through the typical three-stage teacher-attitude cycle (this parallels research done by Frances Fuller and John L. Watzke): The 3-Stage Teacher-Attitude Cycle
Shock: "Whoa! This is too much, and I want out."
Cynicism: "The students don't care. The administration doesn't support us."
Self-Actualization: "I can do this. This is fun. If I help just one student, it's worth it!"
In each of these steps, I was lucky to have other caring individuals helping me. As a new teacher, I benefited greatly from the patient ministrations of several seasoned teachers who showed me the ropes of grading, discipline, effective lessons, and ways to manage the volume of work. Without their help, I would not have made it past the first year.
I was overwhelmed my first year, and I looked for anything to help me. As teachers are required to do, I attended workshops and teacher meetings in which I was inspired to be great. I saw Stand and Deliver, which depicts how a high school math teacher, Jaime Escalante, challenged the mental and social limitations that his students had placed on themselves, thereby bringing them to greatness. I felt that if I could be that passionate about teaching students, I could do anything. Then I went back into the classroom and faced the reality that I had only a certain amount of time, strength, and energy. I seriously doubted my own capacity to teach and my decision to become a teacher. I struggled through another year in which things improved to a moderate degree.