Being a teacher pt. 1

My job is a teacher and it’s something I’ve been working on for the past 4 years. I’ve never explicitly talked about it here because I’ve had a really hard time with teaching.

The reason I want to be a teacher: I think my mentor said it best: I want to help little people grow up to become big people.  Basically, I want kids to grow up to be good adults. I never tell people that when they ask because it sounds way too cheesy, but it is my true reason. I care less about the academics and knowledge I’m passing on to them, because the Internet can do that. They can get information themselves. What is really important to me is that they grow up feeling capable and that they don’t grow up to become racist/sexist/prejudiced adults. This task is proving much much harder and I realize that one person cannot do that. It takes a village and a world to raise a kid into an adult.

That takes me to the next point, which is that I have only 180 days and about 5 hours with students per day — in those limited number of hours and minutes, how do we make our time count? What is the most important thing for us to do together ? This is dictated by standards and so many other things, but teachers can be really powerful too. In any lesson, the teacher is teaching content and behavior. A math teacher is teaching math and how to talk about numbers and back up our answers. An English teacher is teaching revising and how to give and take constructive feedback. I think those skills are the most valuable in the adult world and what I want students to practice in my classroom.

The things I struggle with as a teacher: I struggle with classroom management and controlling student behavior. It may not sound kid-friendly, but a teacher absolutely needs control of the classroom in order to teach. That is my greatest weakness and something I really wrestle with. I’m not authoritative by nature and I’ve had to work hard at student behavior with poor results 😦 . I’ve read and gotten a lot of advice about classroom management, and the repeating theme is that teachers need to:

  1. Be consistent
  2. Set expectations and teach them to students
  3. Enforce consequences

I struggle because even though I do those things, students do not behave. It seems that there is a personality/presence aspect that I have not mastered yet. How do I come across as being authoritative and someone that students can trust and rely on? How do I fit better into a school community, with staff, students, and admin? How do I captivate students’ attention and make school a fun place for them? I would like those things because I originally thought teaching could be a creative and meaningful job, but I have not been able to experience that yet. My goal this year is to have fun teaching, and hopefully kids have fun as well.

To be continued!

Currently reading:

Reading Workshop Tips – Teaching in the Tongass

How To Be Both Calm And Enthusiastic Next School Year

Mirrors and Windows

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