Hello, and welcome to F-Flat’s new blog, Growing Young Professionals! The purpose of this blog is to answer practical and logistical questions young professionals, more specifically new teachers, have when entering the work environment. Often, the collegiate experience heartily prepares you to teach your subject in a standard classroom. However, it does not often provide experience with practical aspects of professional life, such as benefits, contracts, unions, and much more. We learn to be good at teaching but not necessarily good at the rest of the gig.
To be fair, it is impossible to teach someone everything they need to know during their undergraduate career. Some things have to be left out, and removing these personal logistics makes the most sense. Our focus within the bounds of our preservice careers needs to be to learn how to teach and, more specifically, how to teach our students. However, we can not teach to the best of our ability if we do not know how particular choices, especially those regarding our income, health, and responsibilities, will impact our personal lives.
Who am I?
Why have I begun a quest to learn the essentials I do not know? I am Rosie Wilson, a growing young professional! I am originally from Scranton “The Electric City,” Pennsylvania. Currently, I am a senior BM Music Education and Music History major at West Chester University of Pennsylvania in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Within me lives a dream of becoming a rockstar music educator. What do I mean by that? I want to teach students how to be compassionate and productive members of society…and I want to be good at it. I am on the verge of completing my degree and–fingers crossed–entering the workforce.
Why am I writing this?
I was inspired to address these issues after a virtual meeting that culminated in the following Facebook post. I wondered…did anyone else have problems readjusting to conversational cues when internet lag is a real and stress-inducing beast? It forced me to consider all the other professional aspects of teaching that my peers and I do not firmly understand. How can I teach well if I can not communicate with colleagues effectively? Or evaluate my pay scale? Know how to assess a benefits package? Thoroughly understand the point of the union I will most likely be joining? These concerns may seem trivial to those who have become their professional selves because they had the opportunity to learn through their experiences. But, young professionals barely have any experience, so how else can they learn these things? I realized we are not necessarily struggling; we are growing. Cue the blog.
Every day I’m learning how to be a better teacher and leader through my courses and experiences (check out Music Service Learning!). It has not, however, ensured I have the primary knowledge functioning professionals take for granted regarding pay, legal obligations, and involvement in a new work environment. These topics are not dirty little secrets hidden amongst the rubble; there just has not been enough time to address them. My not knowing is a product of my environment; I’ve never needed to understand how these systems work before. However, that is no excuse not to seek answers and advice on what I don’t–but need to–know. To reach my goals, I and everyone else in my situation must become and remain informed. Instead of myself and countless other growing young professionals guessing which boxes to check on which forms to fill out, I want to create a series of resources to inform upcoming teachers. By doing so, we can ensure educators aren’t worrying about their logistics’ logistics and can focus on what is important, teaching their students.
To answer growing young professionals’ questions, I will be interviewing seasoned, veteran, accomplished professionals. Through their responses, I hope to collect information that newbies can use to guide them as they take their first steps. Currently on the docket are human resources, contract reading, finances, and unions. If you have an idea for a topic that you think young professionals may be struggling with, email me at [email protected]! I am happy to consider requests as I embark on this journey. Please check back for more and share as you wish. I hope we can all grow from this experience.