10.11.2006

Thoughts on Teaching

I love my job. Sometimes, from the way I write about it, you may not get that.

Here are some insights from me, about being a teacher, inspired by a meme I got here.

I'm a good teacher because ...
I'm a bad student. I am totally that person who pays attention and takes notes for 1.6 seconds, and then wanders off into her own little make-believe land (or, in my case, ACTUAL land, but it is EngLAND, and that is far away). So I try to teach in such a way that, just when someone is going to lose interest, I say or do something that sucks 'em in again. Note that I said TRY; it is impossible difficult to achieve this goal. But I love a challenge.

If I weren't a teacher, I'd be ...
I don't know what I'd be. Dead? I can't imagine NOT teaching, even if I am at home, teaching my own sister's children how to say the alphabet. Although now that I think about it, I could totally do a Joan Rivers-type show, where I tell people they look like crap.

My teaching style is ...
Laidback, but firm. I like rules, but I don't like rigidity. So I encourage participation--in moderation.

My classroom is ...
Bright. Cluttered. Comfortable.

My lesson plans are ...
Pretty much in my head. I've been teaching these subjects long enough that I know what's coming next and what I need to do. I like to give quizzes, just as a memory refresher, but I also give extra credit points when students answer oral questions correctly. (This encourages participation.) I like to keep busy, too; we are supposed to teach "bell to bell," as directed by the principal, but I do not like to lecture for ninety minutes. I try to be pretty flexible, too; it's easier because my classes are not tested by the state, so I have a lot more room to slow down if I need to, or to go on to the next thing, if my students learn something quickly.

One of my teaching goals is ...
To help my students to see that all learning is NOT boring, that learning doesn't have to stop at 3:00 every day, and that education is important because not everybody is going to be able to get into the NBA at age 17.

The toughest part of teaching is ...
Fighting against apathy, from everyone: students, parents, AND teachers.

The thing I love most about teaching is ...
It's never boring. Ever.

A common misconception about teaching is ...
That teachers have it easy, because we are out of school for all federal holidays, Christmas, Spring Break, and summer, and that we get off work at 3:00. WRONG. For the most part, teachers will put in AT LEAST forty hours a week on schoolwork alone. This does not count extra-curricular activities that we have to sponsor, or the courses or tests we are required to take to maintain our certification (at our own expense). It is NOT easy.

The most important thing I've learned since I started teaching is ...
I've actually felt this for some time, but Cat helped me vocalize it recently, when she passed on some advice from her mom, a college professor: Sometimes YOU want it more than THEY want it.
It's hard to see my students fail my class, and I don't WANT to see them fail my class. I often work overtime to help them: I stay after to help with make-up work, I make phone calls to parents to let them know their kids are falling behind, I sweat bullets trying to get kids to CARE about their grades. Sometimes I DO want it more than they do, and I do everything I can to make them do it, but in the end, THEY'RE the ones who have to complete the process. They're the ones who make the choice, and it's hard for me to acknowledge that sometimes, they just don't care enough.

2 comments:

Jen said...

Hey! Checking back with you since you found the teaching meme on my blog.

What you say about sometimes you want it more than they want it is so true...it was really hard for me to learn that when I first started teaching. I had always loved school, grades really mattered to me, and I liked most of my teachers. But there, in front of me, were kids that hated school as they knew it, didn't care if they didn't get an A, and might actually not like me! An eye opener...

Laura said...

I particularly liked your response to "If I weren't a teacher, I'd be..."

I like your style.

 

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