I chose to do a visual representation that illustrated the mental picture that was formed in my mind when I first read, “Teaching in the Undertow”. This story talks about the struggles that new teachers may face when they enter an unfamiliar school. The author makes it clear that in order to survive you must not forget your initial hopes and dreams that lead you into the teaching profession.
In my mind a teachers initial hopes, dreams, and ideas about teaching are represented on the sand, they are the safe place on the beach. While the water and the waves represent the expectations and challenges that are imbedded in the school system, this is dangerous and uncertain territory. At any moment it may feel like it all may come crashing down on you, this is typically what teachers refer to as ‘burning out’. The author stresses the importance of creating a positive network and support group that can help to prevent this from happening. In my picture, the figure standing on the shoreline represents either a personal mentor or a supporting colleague, someone who has more experience in the field of teaching. I have shown this knowledgeable figure as being connected to the overwhelmed first year teacher, representing the anchor. This anchor-figure’s main purposes is to help a new teacher feel safe by having a connection with the new teacher and to rescue them in times of trouble.
I found the metaphor of the undertow, used in this story, to be very realistic. I felt comfort knowing that many first year teachers will face the same struggles that I most likely will. Throughout this story and through further reflection I was able to gain new insights and advice that will be key to my success and commitment along my personal journey in becoming an elementary teacher.