Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thirteen things every teacher should know

  1. Teaching is not a 9-5 job. Not only do you have lessons to plan, papers to correct, data to enter, report cards to fill out, open house presentations to prepare, conferences to get ready for....but you also have the kids. They stay with you, 24-7. You will go home and tell stories about them. There will always be at least one that you will worry about what they're doing when they walk out that classroom door. It doesn't matter if you are in the richest or the poorest district in the world....there will always be the kids.
  2. Since there will always be the kids to think about, worry for and plan lessons for- one of the hardest lessons you will learn as a teacher is that there is only so much you can do in a day, or a year. Eventually, the school bell rings, the year ends....and they are gone; these kids you fell in love with. And there's nothing you can do except accept your successes....or your failures.
  3. It is the only job in the world where you have to time your beverage consumption to match your schedule. Don't start drinking coffee at 8:00 if your first break isn't until 12:20 because you'll have a serious problem. Unless you can poke your head out the door and catch some unsuspecting adult to stand in your classroom while you sprint down the hall to the nearest bathroom.
  4. Since everyone has earned an education, everyone has an opinion about education. It doesn't matter if they are fresh out of college, or 60 years young, they all know the best way you can do your job or the easiest way for the government to run your school. It also doesn't matter if the curriculum has changed dramatically since they were in school (which I can almost guarantee it has)! Because gosh darn it, if it worked for them and they're OK, then why can't it work for kids today?
  5. Teachers can in fact predict when the moon is full. Check the noise level of your classroom or the behavior of your students.
  6. There will be days when you will cheer, days when you will cry in frustration, days when you throw up your hands in exasperation....but there will never, ever, be a boring day.
  7. Lysol spray, Clorax wipes and hand soap. Use them often, love them dearly.
  8. Just when you've figured out how to teach something- it will change. You will just be comfortable and confident and feel like maybe next year will be a tad easier and someone will come along with New Research! Better practices! Good Ideas! Suddenly, you find yourself elbow deep in new curriculum to learn.
  9. You will be sneezed on, you will witness students throwing up, you will see gushing blood. You will carry epipens and pray you never have to use them. You will learn about conditions like epilepsy, bipolar disorder, fetal alcohol syndrom, allergies, tourettes, asbergers, ADD and juvenile diabetes. You will feel foreheads, support hurt ankles and distribute more bandaids in a year than you even imagined. And you will do it all with a smile and a calm attitude because you know full well that the minute you lose it, so will your students.
  10. Stickers. Even fifth graders love them. Just make sure you have a large variety because you will run out, or get bored with them.
  11. Every teacher needs a bag of tricks. Ways to get the class to quiet down, to walk from one point to another in an orderly fashion, to go from one lesson to the next without too much disruption. Learn several tricks, then learn even more because after awhile, the same tricks won't work anymore.
  12. You can never have enough thank you cards.
  13. You will receive mugs and smelly lotion and really hideous jewelry. You might even get lucky enough to receive used gifts. Don't take it personally. Some parents really do think you want to wear a neon green necklace that you'd never be caught dead in while walking around smelling like watermelon.


NancyPearlWannabe said...

If only I could count the number of mugs and tote bags I've received as gifts... luckily, the parents around these parts are in love with coffee gift cards. :)

This post totally made me smile. I love that there are people out there who understand what it's like just being in a school every day.

Kelli said...

I loved this post Li. In fact, it gave me chills. I'm happy in my current job but at times I think I may have missed my calling.

I read your posts from a teachers point of view and think back to MY teachers I had as a kid. It's nice to think now, as an adult, how much time and effort they really gave us.

Thanks for sharing.


Hello again! It's amazing -- I'm a first year teacher, and I agree with everything you wrote here. I think that's so cool...

Do you mind if I link to your page on my page?