I like to refer to my first month of school as “the crying days.”
There wasn’t a day that passed in that first month where I didn’t question my decision to become a teacher.
I had no experience beyond that of my own learning and what I thought I knew about teaching from a student’s perspective.
We all know that this is a folly.
Needless to say, I was ill-prepared.
No bathroom or classroom key. No curriculum. No student teaching, only a modicum of classroom observation experience and teaching theory from my certification classes in my masters program.Looking back now, I’m often shocked I made it to my middle career. Support was slim. Times were tough and my patience was tried, often.
But I toughed it out…
Because I knew that I had found my calling. As cheesy as it sounds, I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Here are some things I wish I would have known before I started teaching (and what prompted me to write Teaching Mythology Exposed):
- Just because you know a lot about a subject, doesn’t mean you will easily be able to teach it
- Take the time to learn more ways to differentiate so all learners get their needs met
- Talk to kids every day about their learning
- Learning is about the learner… not about me or the “theory”
- Children require love and compassion, not just knowledge
- Children shouldn’t be managed – they should be engaged (i.e. shift from classroom management to classroom engagement)
- Teachers shouldn’t be and aren’t the only experts in the room
- Technology is something to be learned about, not feared – constantly
- Change is the only constant in teaching
- Grades/standards should be used to communicate achievement NOT used a leverage
- There is no justice in education – it is about equity not equality
- Classrooms today don’t and shouldn’t look like they did when we were students
- We need to make time for reflection and for actual growth – not just curriculum
- We need to take more risks, fail and try again – model growth behaviors and innovation
- Don’t be afraid to show kids your human side – talk about you sometimes where appropriate
- Be honest – always – the authentic you is better than a fraud
Most of all, I’d tell new teachers that there is no one right way to teach. Do what works for you. Establish good tools by watching people you respect – people kids respect. Get into other classrooms, ask a lot of questions. This is where most of the learning happens.
Where did you get your best tools for teaching? Please share