Two months

It’s been two months since I’ve started teaching. I can’t believe I’ve been a High School teacher for two months.

I also can’t believe I’ve survived these past two months. This has got to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The lesson plans, the long drives, learning all the new rules, not to mention working with the students and discovering the best ways to teach. Looking back though, here’s my best advice for new teachers:

  1. Ask questions. It’s surprising the amount of important information you’ll learn just by asking questions. The people in charge are just as busy as you are, so they won’t be able to tell you everything you need to know. If you have a question, ask someone.
  2. Teach slowly. My first month or so I expected the kids to be like sponges and just soak up all the information I threw at them. When I started grading their tests and quizzes I was pretty shocked to see they hadn’t learned anything I taught them. Well, it turns out very few people can learn by reading off of an overhead. Not only that, but no one can learn it only after one time. As I’m going I’m learning how important it is to reteach the key details again and again and again and then once more. I have to keep reminding myself this.
  3. Take it in steps. The first week I taught, my goal was to survive and take attendance. The second week I took a stab at creating a graded assignment. Each week I’d add a small new goal and when I met it, i moved on. Right now my goal is to create all the lesson plans for the week before the week starts. Harder said than done. But that’s the only way you’ll make it, taking it one step at a time.
  4. Make mistakes, reflect and improve. IMHO, there’s nothing wrong with messing up your first year. As long as you get attendance taken and don’t fail your entire class, you’ve done pretty well. No one is perfect their first time around, just make sure you’re learning from your mistakes and improving your level of teaching.

Compared to the first several weeks I’m feeling much more comfortable with what I’m doing. I’m still exhausted as anything from staying up late to finish lesson plans. To me though, I don’t want to do anything less then my best. It’s just not as fun.

I’m tired, I’m worn out and I need a good vacation, but I’m happy to be a teacher.