Top 10 Things I Already Knew (But Didn’t Really Know) About Teaching
- Teaching is Failure. A lot of days aren’t going to go the way you want them to go and that’s okay. You learn best from your mistakes and being flexible in what you do is part of the job.
- Teaching is Success. Some days will go exactly how you wanted them to go and that’s great! Find a friend and go out to celebrate. Stay positive and rejoice in all your victories, no matter how small.
- Teaching is tears. Some days you’ll want to cry and you should. Teaching is hard. The kids aren’t going to be perfect, people are going to say things, and sad situations will happen. Don’t bottle it up, let it all out, and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
- Teaching is triumph. Are you even a teacher if you don’t spend most of your day giving high-fives or fist bumps and saying things like, “I can tell you studied really hard!” and “You did a great job of participating today!” Celebrate your victories and you student’s victories. Everyone deserves to know when they have done a good job and kids are no exception.
- Teaching is hard on the heart. There is no such thing as a perfect child. And depending on the environment you teach in, you may think there is no such thing as even a “good” kid. I have come to the understanding that, especially in urban education, kids deal with a lot more than anyone thinks they do. And when those situations come to light it just breaks your heart. But it also makes what you are doing so much more meaningful and worthwhile.
- Teaching is rewarding. You aren’t always going to leave school with a smile on your face or a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. But overall, you will feel like you made some sort of difference, in some child’s life, in some sort of way.
- Teaching is laughing. If you can’t laugh at yourself, your silly students, or something that happened while teaching then it is going to be a miserable career! Kids are funny, the things they say sometimes just make you shake your head. Laugh at them, let them laugh at you, and laugh together. There is no better medicine or way to build a sense of community than to have fun and be able to laugh.
- Teaching is dancing. I never was a big dancer (I have no rhythm) until I started spending time with kids who live to get free time so they can dance. Taking 5 minutes out of the day to gather the class together and dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (Thank you Trolls and JT) is not difficult, unless you can’t dance like me. But you do what you can and the kids think it’s great! It makes our day!
- Teaching is exhausting. I’ve worked with kids in some way most of my life and I know they have a lot of energy and I have very little energy. I knew I would be tired, but I didn’t know how tired I would be going home every day, and then you still have to function and be a part of a family! Yet somehow I always have the energy to get up the next day and do it all over again. Teachers have superpowers, people!
- Teaching is worth it. If it wasn’t, why would people want to be teachers (No, you don’t really get summers off, so that’s not enough reason) ? I love each and every kid I have come into contact with, whether they were a good student or not. I love that I got to spend time with them and share a little bit of my passions with them, and hopefully a little bit rubbed off on them. I do know that a little bit of my heart leaves with each class I have, but thankfully I think it’s big enough to send a little bit of it off with every class for years to come!
Teaching is all of these things (and more), and most I already knew. But as a teacher, you’re never done learning and I’m finding that out every single day. I could probably write this list all over again in ten years and say something totally different. That’s the beauty of the job, it isn’t really a job. It’s an act of the heart and I hope those of you who are teachers continue to give your heart like I already know you do.