Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Education

Older—and Wiser

November 11, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Hanne Denney, a 47-year-old “career-changer,” is in her second year as a special education and social studies teacher at Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland. Visitors to www.teachermagazine.org can read her ongoing blog, excerpted below, about the challenges and rewards of starting over in teaching.

I began my high school teaching career after 30 years of other jobs. I don’t know as much about teaching high school as those teachers who completed a four-year college program, but I know a whole lot of other stuff.

I know what matters in life. I know that the things I did as a teenager shaped my adult life. I know that what I learned in algebra and world history and music classes helped me in my jobs, and I can tell you how. I’ve had a lot of successes in my life just because I tried to do something. I know that everything I do today affects the rest of my life.

I’m not trying to get approval from the students in my class. Early on, I realized my own children didn’t need more friends—they needed a mother. A mother who was friendly, yes, but who wasn’t afraid to assert authority. I want to be that kind of teacher, too. I am old enough that I know I am not all that cool, and I’m cool with that.

When you’ve lived longer, you have more stories. I tell students about my personal experiences or the experiences of people I know. Even an active, teenager-filled classroom quiets down for a good story. ... If a child wants to hear more stories, they must learn to read, and I’ll help them do that. If a child wants to tell their own story, they must learn to write. I’ll help them do that, too.

I know that my own history and all that I’ve learned have come together to create a good teacher. Everything that happens now is another chapter in my storybook.

To read more or respond, go to Hanne Denney’s blog.

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2005 edition of Teacher Magazine as Older-and Wiser

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week