My 3-week teaching block is quickly coming to a close. So much faster than I ever anticipated, and it has been absolutely amazing!
Sure, I’ve had some “off” days with students who were unruly, disrespectful and who refused to do their work, but those days taught me how to manage, how to create strategies, and how to persevere. I’ve also had some truly incredible classes with my students where everything was just clicking, and moving through the lesson plan and into the next. My students have really shown me that I have all of the tools to be a really great teacher.
Here’s just a snapshot of what I have learned:
- I have learned that not all lessons and not all days have to be perfectly planned.
- I have learned that not all “fun” lessons are actually fun.
- I have learned that routines are super important.
- I have learned that university (and even pre-internship) only prepares you for 1% of the classroom management strategies you will have to learn, create and implement.
- I have learned that some days are really hard (and I mean REALLY hard) and other days flow effortlessly.
- I have learned over and over again that relationships are the biggest part of teaching. Students have to know you care, even if you have to be strict with them.
- I have learned that I know how to have control and authority over my class.
- I have learned that I hate the social studies textbooks. Don’t like them at all.
- I have learned that other textbooks are ok and some are even pretty great!
- I have learned that a half an hour class period is pretty much nothing and is best to use to have a discussion or to continue work from a previous class/day.
- I have learned that boys PE is probably the worst idea ever.
- I have learned that keeping up with marking is a struggle, but I totally realize the importance.
- I have learned that what students go through (both inside and outside of school) will break your heart.
- I have learned that I can function on less than 4 hours of sleep.
- I have learned that I am far more creative and innovative than I give myself credit for, yet I still want to be more.
- I have learned that it’s ok for your classroom to be messy. It means learning is happening and the mess is a product of the action.
- I have learned that flexibility is a huge asset. Things change all the time in the school.
There are: early recesses you didn’t know about, fire/security drills that take up half your class, gyms times that get cancelled, special guests and assemblies that pop up, impromptu lecture sessions by other teachers that derail your lesson and force you to teach something else, teachers who need/want to swap times with you, laptops that you booked being taken away by others who didn’t book them, laptops becoming magically available and taking the chance to use them (after verifying they really are available), opportunities for your students to go on special field trips that come up and you take them, and sudden illnesses cause you to have to leave at lunch time. (Yes, all of those things have actually happened in the last 3 weeks!)
- I have learned that prep periods can sometimes be for prepping lessons or marking things, or just for taking deep breaths, having a snack and taking a break from the crazy day.
- I have learned that lunar cycles are a real thing and can affect your students’ behaviour.
- I have learned that I love teaching even more than I ever thought I did. I get a huge grin when I think of a cool idea and am able to put it all together for my lessons, and an even bigger one when my students are so into learning that they don’t want to stop.
- I have learned that math games are magical.
- I have learned that I can “trick” students into learning.
- I have learned that learning outside takes practice. A LOT of practice.
- I have learned that veteran teachers, while intimidating at first, are so willing to help.
- I have learned that I have my own style of teaching, and that’s ok. It’s even great!
- I have learned that students do not know how to dress for being outside and you must teach this to them. Even to grade 7s.
- I have learned that some of the best lessons are unplanned.
- I have learned that deadlines for student work really don’t mean anything, but also are everything at the same time.
- I have learned that coffee can be your friend on crazy days, even if you’re not a “real” coffee drinker.
- I have learned that I have a very high tolerance level for the general shenanigans of students, and know when and how to use my authority effectively.
If these are things I have learned in the past 3 weeks, I cannot even begin to imagine the teachings my first year of teaching will bring me! I also still have 3 more full days and a week of partial teaching days left too, so I’m sure I can still add to this list!