This week marked to beginning of my year. (As a teacher I believe the year begins in late August and ends sometime in mid-August.) I sat through a number of training meetings and motivational speakers, all indeed to make me a better teacher. And I will admit, I’m always excited this time of year.
Perhaps that’s why I ended up in education; I love the promise of a new year, a new lesson, a new lunch box, a new notepad, a new pack of pens. Back to school shopping is like Christmas for me. What will my daughter learn this year? What will my kids learn this year? What will I learn this year?
I actually spent the summer not only teaching, but taking 4 graduate classes. The results were two-fold. I have new knowledge to infuse into my classes and some new ideas of how to do it. Additionally, I have also reached my next step professionally due to my extra education–I am an Assistant Professor.
Granted there is a monetary increase that goes with the title (a nice boost since there is no way I’d get a raise otherwise). But what it means to me is a time to really look at how far I’ve come. This is the beginning of my fourth year teaching and I feel like I have come an epic distance from where I was this time three years ago. My title change doesn’t just represent more formal education; it represents that crucial element of experience.
So what have I learned?
- Be patient. Patience is a must with your students, your peers, your administrators, and most importantly, yourself.
- Be flexible. Your technology will break, they won’t have the book, or your lesson will flop. So improvise. Try something new (in case you might like it).
- Be persistent. Yes, most of them are sleeping, glazed over, or texting. But there are some that are paying attention and soaking in everything you do and say. Keep talking. Someone is listening.
- Be the change you wish to see. Some of the students don’t know how to be eloquent, curious, thoughtful, respectful, and tenacious because they haven’t seen it. They don’t know what integrity or critical thinking are. Show them.
Next week I’ll be introducing a new monthly feature to the blog, so stay tuned!