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Things I Have Learned About Teaching


Kids cry at school more often than I thought they would. They cry because they say a bad word at recess, a teacher hears it, and they get in trouble. They cry because they don’t get a turn when they think they should get a turn. They cry because you ask them to actually do schoolwork. They cry because they didn’t get the work done, or because you didn’t give them a sticker or gold ticket. They cry because they remember that their pet lizard died last week. They cry because the kids are mean and hurt their feelings at recess. And they may cry when they are happy, because another kid agrees to be their friend. Sometimes, when they cry, you want to cry right along with them. Other times, you just want them to get back to work.

Every minute is spoken for. And really, all you want is more time. I bought a watch, and I’d be lost without it, because I have to plan out every minute and I really do always use the last 15 seconds (so sit back down) to get one more thought, idea, sentence, math problem, or definition spoken out loud or written down. I used to hate it when my teachers did this to me, and now I do it. Because time is the enemy and I am in a battle I just might win.

Kids never do what you expect. Sometimes they can understand Venn diagrams and make text to world connections that surprise you and pump you up with pride. You think, did I do that? Did I help you make that awesome connection?

Kids never say what you think they will. And they are funny. They see a picture of a pile of hay with a pitch fork in it and they say, “This reminds me of breakfast.” They say “All skunks are boys. I mean males.” “You mean mammals?” “Yes, mammals. What’s a mammal?” Teaching is never boring. Ever.

It’s not true that you should never interrupt a child when they are speaking, at least not for teachers. I used to think that was true, but I have learned that if you let them talk until they finish their thought, you will never get anything done. They all have stories, and when they raise their hands and you call on them and they start with “This one time…” you have to kibash them. Sad but true, the stories can’t be told. At least not until recess. And then, guess what, they don’t want to talk to you anymore.

Teachers get to be creative. The best news ever. Coming from a job where I received a sticky note that said, “Creativity ends in March” in reference to my habit of finding creative ways to build projects in SAP , well, all I can say is thank you for allowing me to do my job in a way that I want to, rather than in the way the standard operating procedures say I should.

The best and most important lesson I’ve learned about teaching is this: classroom management is key. If you get that, everything else falls into place. If you don’t have that, it all falls apart. I am working on it. Which means, no stories.

I didn’t know how attached I would be to all of these smalls. Come October 25, there will be a lot of crying on my part, as I say goodbye to all of the cute little ankle biters.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/23/2012 6:23 am

    “So this one time….” That totally made me chuckle, reminded me of elementary school.

    • 09/23/2012 8:53 pm

      The funny thing is, I start lot of sentences with, “this one time…” so it’s hard for me to make them stop. It’s cute but the stories go on forever…

  2. 09/24/2012 3:27 am

    Yes you will be hard pressed to let go of the little dahlings…but they will forever be part of you. I am glad you are enjoying your new profession.

  3. Nataie permalink
    09/24/2012 3:23 pm

    What lucky little kiddos to have had you in their classroom! I am so proud of you!!! Not many people could take the leap that you did! I dont know a person alive with more patience and the creativity to do what you are doing! I look forward to your posts so much! Great job sistah!!!!

  4. 09/24/2012 3:25 pm

    I am glad you are enjoying your new profession also!! and thanks for this week-end.. Love you

  5. 09/24/2012 4:18 pm

    I wish I was little enough to have you for my teacher, cuz then I could go home and say “Teacher said . . . ” and tell my long, long story. 🙂

    • 09/25/2012 12:54 am

      I know right? I do let them tell stories at the end if they got their work done. Becasue I understand the need to tell stories.

  6. Tim Brocker permalink
    09/24/2012 4:56 pm

    Awesome sauce writing again. The smalls are cool. Love ya.

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