My last day of teaching. I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my life, but I never want to short sell my incredible experiences from teaching. I have taught at the same school for six years. Three years in fifth grade homeroom//a semester teaching all grade levels math//returned to fifth grade homeroom for a semester, was grade level chair, and co-taught in a Special Education classroom//part-time for a year teaching first, fourth, and fifth grade math//a year back as a fifth grade homeroom teacher. I have taught ESOL students, students with special needs, homeless students, "TAG" (talented and gifted) students and students with EBD.
And these are the things I have learned (with some eCard gems)...
- You have to pray for students. All the time. They will drive you absolute bonkers sometimes. They can make you want to consider jumping out of your third floor classroom's window. But sometimes, you just have to stop and pray for them. Remember that they are God's children. Remember you may be the only one praying for them.
And even worse? When they are just tardy, and you got so excited about a <insert student's name>-free day for nothing.
- All students have gifts. Each and every one has amazing, unique traits. Some are just a lot easier to see than others.
- It will never be completely done. There will always be more papers to grade, more lessons to plan, more rooms to decorate. Sometimes you just need to leave. Nobody ever said staying until 7:00 every night makes you the best teacher.
- Your co-workers can be your best friends. If you don't like who you work with, you won't like your job. Make friends. Listen to others. And don't talk about school during lunch.
- It is okay to be strict. And it is okay to be silly. There is a time for both.
- Lessons Bomb. Usually they are the ones you think will be awesome too. It doesn't mean you are a bad teacher.
- Remember the "Middle Kids" We focus on the high students. We focus on the low students. We focus on those who don't speak the language. We focus on those with behavior disorders. Not all kids fall into one of those groups, but that doesn't mean they are any less important.
- Learn how to use the copier and laminator correctly. And learn who can fix it when you break it.
- Become a real person to your students. They just see us at school (for the most part.) I think they think we live there. Tell them about your family, your hobbies, and interests. They will be more likely to open back up to you.
- Listen to students I wish I would have done this more. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in the academic part of teaching, that you can forget they are children with words and feelings. Watch them. Listen to them.
- Don't become Friends on Facebook I don't know why teachers do this. Overall I think it is a horrible idea. Sorry kids for declining you.
- But make sure your principal IS following you on Pinterest So you have a back-up if you forget to post lesson plans
- Everyday is a new beginning Don't hold a grudge from previous interactions. Forgive daily.
- Teach them manners No education compares to Please and Thank You.
- Love them. Especially when you don't like them.
(Did I master all of these? Absolutely not.)