I still can’t believe I have been in the same profession for over a decade. There have certainly been some high highs and low lows during my career, but in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This girl is one who loves variety and being a teacher brings all that and more.
When I was growing up I never really thought or planned what I’d do for a living. I just knew I wanted to laugh a lot, have a few adventures and be around people. It wasn’t until a short stint teaching in an American summer camp and a year backpacking around the world that led me back at university studying to become a primary school teacher.
Being as Ashleigh has shared the 12 things she learned so far during her teaching career, I thought it is only fitting for me to share the 11 things I have learned after 11 years of teaching:
1. You are going to have good days and bad days. Don’t let the bad days define you as a teacher.
2. Some of the fellow educators you meet at university and at the schools you work in will become your sounding boards, encouragers and collaborators. Treat each other kindly and respectfully.
3. Not every student is going to walk away from a lesson mastering the skill you taught them, and that is okay! There will be times to practise that skill and if you’re really worried, work with the parents. Ultimately, if they want to see them improve they’ll work with them at home.
4. Your life experiences before becoming a teacher are just as valuable as
the teaching strategies you learn at university. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or changing careers for the fifth time, those experiences have moulded you into the educator you are today.
5. You are going to have students who will challenge you, make you shed bucket loads of tears as well as laugh uncontrollably. These will be the kids who stretch you to your limits but help you grow exponentially as a teacher.
6. I highly recommend not checking your emails once you’ve left work for the day, or at least set a limit on when you check them.
7. At some time you may suffer from imposter syndrome (doubt your achievement of being a qualified teacher). Push that negative train of thought aside and be assured you do know what is best for the students in your care. You’ve got this!
8. Use those school holidays to take a holiday! Get in that car, have a staycation or jump on a plane. You will be a better teacher for it.
9. Don’t be afraid to part with the resources you have made over the years. If you’re constantly moving year levels, schools or countries, lugging boxes of resources can become exhausting. I found the quality concrete materials you love using are usually always stocked in the majority of schools. If you can’t find them, send an email to all your colleagues and guaranteed it’s in the back of someone's cupboard.
10. Set boundaries from the beginning for creating a work/life balance. A teacher's job is 24/7, so do yourself a favour and don’t leave work at stupid o’clock.
11. Do your best to be kind to everyone (students, parents, colleagues, cleaners, volunteers, etc.) As I like to say to my students, treat others how you would like to be treated. It will make the world a better place!
May the next 11 years of teaching be filled with laughs, riddled with classroom adventures and surrounded by unique little humans who brighten my day and keep me on my toes.
We’d love to hear what is the most important thing you have learned as a teacher?
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