When I was thinking of titling this post sadly that lyric popped into my mind. After I had a good laugh about it I couldn’t not use is as the title.
It’s fun to look back on my first year of teaching because I learned so much. I knew it would be hard, but I really had no idea how much I would learn and grow. Not only did I grow as a teacher but I grew as an adult as well. Here are a few of the major lessons/things I learned.
1. Mistakes: Everyone out there knows that being a teacher means you don’t make mistakes, right? HA. Not only is that not true, I don’t want it to be true. If I can model to my student’s what it’s like to make mistakes and learn from them it’s far more impacting than pretending like I know everything. I want my student’s to know that making mistakes is how you learn, you need it. It’s not a bad thing or something to be embarrassed about.
2. Student Work: Going into my first year this was my attitude, “I’m only going to give grades based on student’s math knowledge. I’m not going to be one of those teachers who marks off for neatness, messy papers, etc.” As much as I wanted to pretend like organization/neatness/showing you care even a little about the work you’re turning in/making your work look like an actual human wrote it, didn’t matter, it does. I hope I didn’t take that one too far. Teaching student’s to value their work IS an important lesson I want them to learn. School isn’t just about math (yes I did say that), it’s also about teaching student’s how to be a successful learner. Student’s, especially 9th graders, need help with organization and note taking skills. I’m doing them more of a disservice by accepting messy work.
3. Communication: I learned so many lessons about communication. Things to remember for next year:
a. Don’t talk with a parent about something I haven’t yet talked with a student about.
b. If an e-mail makes you upset do not respond right away.
c. If an e-mail is getting to long, and things might get misunderstood use a telephone or an in person meeting.
d. Communicate important rules often. Just because I know the rule doesn’t mean my students remember it.
e. Communicate assignments in multiple ways whenever possible.
f. Communicate with student’s better about their behavior. (How to do this daily I still don’t have nailed down.)
4. Complaining: Complaining is part of a high schooler’s life. Most of the time they don’t even know they’re complaining. Sometimes, I feel like they only know how to communicate by complaining. I can’t take it personally, it’s part of their mojo to complain.
5. Teenager Brain: I really forgot what it was like to be a teenager. Part of High School for some student’s is learning that what they do affects the people around them. I forget that they’re still learning this lesson. When I think back to me in High School (and let’s be real, even now) I definitely wasn’t thinking about what was best for everyone and not just myself.
I feel like there are so many things I want to remember to do better the second time around. I know I won’t do everything better, but that’s why there’s a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, n+1, (where n<65) year.