Thursday, October 14, 2010

What teaching teaches

I’m a teacher? I often point this out to myself because it still seems so unlikely…especially to those who knew me when I was younger. I did not like school. I mean I didn’t mind being there; it was the work that got me. I was smart enough but I’m still embarrassed when I look back by my poor work ethic and the lack of impression I must have made on anyone.

I remember going to check my class rank with a friend of mine and the surprise I felt when I was ranked 134 out or 322(she was 135, life is cruel). I took to collegiate academics about the same. So if you were looking for the best and brightest to hire as a teacher, you should have skipped over me. But somehow I think I grew up some and ended up back teaching at the school I attended, hired by a teacher who gave me the D- I deserved in 12th grade…and I guess I’ve learned a few things since.

So what have I learned since I became a teacher? It’s hard to explain, especially since I am so busy I don’t give it enough thought. One funny thing I saw and have posted in my room reads “The 2 most important rules to being a successful teacher…#1 Never tell your students everything.” Even the brightest kids will ask about #2 time and time again, only to feel cheated when they realize that their teacher seems to take pleasure in their confusion.

Sticking to that list’s some more of what I’ve learned. Not so much life lessons, just what it takes to be a successful teacher.

Like people, kids and even their parents.
- Have a sense of humor
- Be part warden, expert, comedian, counselor, politician
- Be a little crazy (I occasionally swing my heavy wooden door shut as proof).
- Expect the unexpected.
- You have to work really hard and that's no guarantee things will work
- Pay attention to minutia.
- Be an optimist
- Learn to think on your feet.
- Have
thick skin.
- Be willing to change.
- Be able to accept defeat.
- Be humble.

Teaching can indeed be a very tough job. But I’m just a teacher. There are tons of people whose jobs can be a heck a lot more important at any given moment. I was once told by a more experienced and wiser teacher that “Teaching is sharing”.

So share your story of lessons from the classroom by posting a comment below.

1 comment:

  1. 1) Always have a plan B.
    2) When you turn your back be prepared for anything
    3) Just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it.
    4) Good ideas aren't aren't always such good ideas, run it by someone first.
    5) Sometimes the worst students can make the best people.
    6) Sometimes the best students can make the worst people.