Because life is a series of edits

Top Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Last Year

In Education, Westminster on June 5, 2008 at 7:54 am

Here’s a list I prepared and presented yesterday at Westminster‘s new teacher induction:

10. Don’t let the physical exhaustion you experience during the first week of school scare you. Though it’s tiring, give your body a chance to catch up from summer (it’ll take a good week).

9. Just because a student smiles at you doesn’t mean he likes you; just because a student frowns at you doesn’t mean he hates you. Don’t take things personally either way.

8. It may take months (for me it was eight) to really feel like you matter to a student, but it will happen eventually. Give it time.

7. Creating disequilibrium in the classroom is key to making something stick. Without coming across like you’re trying too hard, don’t be afraid to try anything once (just don’t get burned twice).

6. Never make a joke at a student’s expense. If you embarrass a student in public, ask forgiveness for doing so in public.

5. Respond to parents promptly and graciously and you’ll have little problem; let stuff go or hint you don’t care, and you will curse the day you were born.

4. There’s nothing wrong with letting your students see you disappointed; there’s also nothing wrong with letting them see you pleased. Either way, talk with them and make sure they know how to tell the difference.

3. Though it will feel like you just don’t have time, reflect and take notes each week on how things are going, sit in on and ask questions about other teachers’ classes, and try to invest your lunch break in getting to know your colleagues.

2. Remember your students have more issues than National Geographic. Oh, and so do you.

1. Sure, teaching may not pay much, but the vacation time is great. Enjoy it and use the time to be the student you want your kids to be.

Okay, so maybe I knew some of these already, but it was fun thinking about them and putting the list together for someone else anyway.

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