It’s always interesting to find out what new teachers learned in their early years of teaching that influenced their later years. Here’s Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Elaine Vanessa picking it up – 5 snippets of wisdom she picked up while surviving the early years of teaching:
My first five years of teaching were the shortest and longest years of my life. I was living the best and the worst moment simultaneously. However, it was the most memorable moment of my life that I don’t want to forget. Moreover, these five years have made me a well-prepared educator and a better person in my life.
Every teacher dreams of having a class with respectful children having fun activities and loving while learning. It makes teaching easier if kids like to be in the room every day. However, my early years were not like that. As I continued, I got better every year. There was one consistent thing; learning. Here are five lessons I learned in my first five years of teaching. I share them in hopes of being a candle in someone’s dark room.
1. Finding work/life balance is a process
You cannot work more than 8 hours a day. You can burn from exhaustion and fatigue. I have my husband to keep pushing me unless I was stuck in the first six months. I learned to keep my school work at school and to find personal time at home with my family. You may need to work from home sometimes, but I recommend that you don’t make it a habit. Discovery work-life balance is not easy; however, it should be a prerequisite to achieve and maintain.
2. Take the time to get to know your students
Investing your time in understanding and caring for your students will pay off tenfold. It’s not terribly difficult to strike up a conversation with your students, make sure you ask relevant questions and establish a personal connection with them. It is also essential to make them aware of you, your family and your experiences. This will help them see a real inspirational person in you. Your openness will make them feel comfortable asking for advice and help. Plus, it will build a relationship of trust and respect by letting them explore and encouraging them to try something new every day.
3. You are never prepared for a student tragedy.
The grief and emotional struggle of my fourth year was tragic because we lost three of our students at our school that year; one to cancer and the other two to accidents. This took the troll all over the school and on me too. It was really like losing your own child. Those were the darkest days of my teaching career.
It was not the first student tragedy that shook me, but a sad one. Moreover, they may not be the last. However, no matter how many times it happens, it will always seem like something unbearable every time. No matter how prepared you are for the next time, it’s still going to be a terrible feat to pull off.
4. Believe you have the power to make things better
We’ve all had times when our inner energy is given off by someone who makes us happy when we’re still around them. Positive energy is real and contagious, just like negativity. Therefore, try to be the source of positive energy for your students. This is how you will make your class culture and your ecosystem well.
I have always tried to provide my students with easy to follow solutions and quick fixes. I still have taught them to see, analyze, think and do things, not what to say and do. This has been the most promising and progressive gain.
5. Stay one step ahead
There are no shortcuts in teaching. In my first five years of college, I learned that a good source of inspiration is letting students know how to see things with a positive outlook. By showing them and providing them with mini-lessons and wholesome talks, we can help elevate their true potential. Plus, asking the right questions can stimulate their thinking and make them a better person in the future.
Remember, this will take time. But the results are worth the wait!
Authors biography :
Elaine Vanessa has worked as a professional teacher for over 10 years in multiple designations. She worked as a part-time nanny and a full-time high school teacher. Currently, Elaine works as a science tutor and takes care of her two children.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over 100 technical resources, including a K-12 Technology Program, K-8 keyboard program, K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in technical education, master teacher, webmaster for four blogs, a Voice of the Amazon Vineeditor of CSTA presentations, freelance journalist on technology education topics, contributor to NEA today and author of technological thrillers, Chase a submarine and twenty four days. You can find his resources at Structured learning.