Five Things I'm Grateful to Have Learned in My Teaching Career
I've taken a few days off of my November posts due to conferences but feel the need to try and catch up! Yesterday's post really speaks to me.
I'm...ahem...no longer a new teacher and have grown and changed so much from my first years in the classroom. The following lessons have stuck with me, I'm grateful I've learned them because I'm a better school community member as a result.
1. Take risks. Sure they're scary but in order to grow and learn stepping out of my comfort zone is a must. I'm doing it more and more and realizing their value for both me and my students. I've started genius hour in my Effective Teens class and am organizing a three school genius hour sharing experience field trip and, truth be told, I'm pretty nervous about it. The whole idea of genius hour has been a risk but the value for my students is too great NOT to have a sharing session for them. I have to admit sending that first email that got the ball rolling was nerve wracking but I need to step back, take a few deep breaths, and realize that it will turn out well (I hope)! Planning and reaching out to others will be key to its success.
2. Rely on others. Schools are places of tremendous support. Over the past few years I have encountered a few newer teachers that seem reluctant to reach out to others for assistance and I hope they soon come to a realization that we need each other in order to maximize our students' potential. Working with ESL teachers, Social Workers, Reading Support teachers, Special Education teachers, Counselors and mentors are the quickest ways to grow as an educator and provide the strongest learning environment for the young people in our care everyday. I am not an expert in any of these previously-mentioned fields but these men and women are--bounce thoughts and ideas off of them. The result strengthens our school community.
3. Be a person that others can rely on. Follow the Golden Rule and take care of others. Let a teacher come to you in confidence when they're struggling or having a tough day, help them find some perspective and keep the conversation to yourself. Be ready with a kind word for a student and a staff member. Be a leader and volunteer to help with a project or committee. The results are worth it. Lightening the collective load will pay off for all involved.
4. Be open to change. Change, like risks, might not always be fun but change is going to happen and demonstrating perseverance is a great lesson for you and your students. The window that opens might end up being a fantastic experience. If it isn't, the lessons learned will prove to you that you are stronger than you ever thought possible.
5. Remain optimistic and check yourself when you start to stray from optimism. Teaching is challenging. No one goes into teaching with the hopes that they will become cynical. We do all that we do for our students so try, try, try to remember why you are a teacher and remain faithful to those reasons. If it becomes difficult seek out others and reflect. #reflectiveteacher