Teacher Blog Posts
As the end of summer approaches, every teacher begins to feel those butterflies in their belly. Whether it is your first year or your thirty-first year, back to school anxiety is real and it can affect any teacher. There so many reasons for back to school anxiety: new students, new colleagues, maybe new administration, almost always there is a new curriculum or new standards. And while our reasons for feeling anxious may not go away, there are some ways to reduce the stress.
There are many things that you learn your first few years of teaching. You learn how to write lesson plans, how to talk to parents and how to keep 30 children on task. But one of the things that you won’t learn that first year and possibly for many years is how to respond to that statement, “It must be nice to have summers off.”
It was hot, I was cranky and my normally endless patience, that I have acquired from being a middle school teacher, was oddly in short supply. I wanted to do better; I wanted to be better, but I wasn’t. Today, I left school glad the day was over, but feeling like I had failed. I didn’t actually do anything wrong. Objectives were met, assessments were taken, but the joy I want to instill in children did not come through today. Today I failed. I was not the teacher I want to be. Today I failed, but I know ways to improve.
II hear people all the time, “I wouldn’t be a teacher today”. Most of the time the reasons are things like: the Common Core, standardized tests, biased teacher evaluations, lack of funding and the bureaucracy. The profession of teaching has been vilified to the point that even the idea (even though it isn’t really true) of summers off doesn’t hold the appeal it once did. There are even teachers that say if it weren’t the middle or end of their careers, they wouldn’t be teachers in today’s climate. Well, I am here to tell you that teaching is an amazing profession. As a matter of fact, I have 10 reasons why it is still great to be a teacher today!
Every profession makes technological advances. Every patient expects their doctor to know the latest and most cutting edge techniques. When asking a contractor to create a custom kitchen, you expect to have top model appliances. Yet, in the classroom, there are subjects covered and lessons taught just as they were fifty years ago. How can we expect to prepare students for the an unknown future, when we teach lessons from the past. As teachers, we must realize that changes must be made. Here are 5 changes to make in your classroom, that can add a whole new dimension to your teaching.
Teaching as a mother is quite different than I expected. I knew that I loved my students, their success is my success. But I wrongly assumed that once I became a mother my attention would shift. I thought that I wouldn’t have the same passion for my students, wouldn’t have the ability to put them first anymore. Before my daughter was born, I thought becoming a mother would take away from the teacher I was. And I was wrong, teaching as a mother has made me a better teacher.
When people ask me what teaching middle school is like, I like to tell them that it is like a party every single day. A party I wasn’t necessarily invited to, but a party nonetheless. Let’s keep this simile going, it is loud like a party, there are always a lot of people like a party, most of the people there are looking to have fun. However, one of the biggest problems with this party, is that I am there. I am clearly just ruining the party!
It’s easy to blame a teacher. Everyone knows what a teacher does. It is one of the few professions that we all grow up watching. As a matter of fact, we spend seven hours a day, five days a week, forty weeks a year, for thirteen years watching people do this job. Obviously, we know what they do and this is why it is easy to blame them for many of the societal issues today. If teachers were effective, students wouldn’t fall behind. If teachers were effective, schools would not be failing. If teachers were effective, students would not need remedial courses in college. If teachers were effective a high school student would be equipped to work after graduating high school.
There is no solution in education. I am fully aware of that, with millions of students with millions of backgrounds how could anyone actually believe that they have the answer to education. If you honestly think you have figured it all out, it is probably time to retire. That being said, this is just a strategy, a strategy to help students become invested in their own education, lives and future.
It is often said that education is the great equalizer. Through education any person can become anything; a person can pull themselves up by the bootstraps and live the life they dream. Although this is partially true in this country, poverty takes away the equal and equitable access to education. Poverty manipulates the mind and social structures. It creates an environment of failure, that without interventions, for many children is inescapable. It is now the job of teachers to do more than teach, it is our job to combat poverty in the classroom.