5 Things You Might Not Know About Teaching
We have all heard that teaching is about shaping young minds and preparing the leaders of tomorrow for the obstacles ahead of them. This is true, of course, but there may be more to teaching than simply showing up and filling eager young students with the knowledge and information they need to be successful. There are also a few things that teachers, especially new ones, may have to learn on their own because they are not taught in school. Some new teachers are surprised at what they find when they enter their classroom as an educator for the first time. With that in mind, here are five things that you might not know about teaching:
- There may be tons of paperwork. Of course teachers understand that there is a lot of paperwork involved when it comes to handing out assignments and grading papers. What many new teachers fail to realize is the sheer volume of paperwork that they may also be responsible for at the request of school administrators. In fact, it is easy for teacher to get bogged down in what seems to be nonessential paperwork when they would much rather be focusing on the lessons that they have planned for their students. As with any job, there are certain tasks that may be safely ignored but it may take years of experience to navigate through the paperwork that is actually necessary and the paperwork that is a bit more on the frivolous side.
- Learning to let things go is a crucial step in a successful teaching career. Teachers are often the first ones that parents blame when something goes wrong with their child. Whether a student gets in trouble at school for misbehaving or is simply unable to keep their grades up, parents almost always place the fault on teachers rather than themselves or the child. With this in mind, it may be a good idea for every teacher to save any letter or e-mail that they get for a parent thanking them for a job well done or giving them a bit of praise. These may also come in handy when a parent, inevitably, tries to go above the teachers had to complain about the terrible job that they are doing. A teacher simply cannot take every bit of criticism personally.
- Kids love to complain. During a child's school career, especially middle school through high school, their teachers are often the object of scorn. This is not to say that children hate their teachers, but that kids may complain about just about anything and everything. It is important for teacher to keep in mind that the complaints lobbed by children are not meant to be taken personally. Hearing a student say that a particular subject is boring or that it sucks is not necessarily an evaluation of how they feel about the teacher. Even the best students are going to have their share of negativity.
- Focusing all of your attention on the children who are struggling is a mistake. There is a common belief that the smart kids are capable of taking care of themselves. Many teachers subscribe to this line of thinking and end up pouring all of their energy into the few students that are having problems, ignoring the rest. Even the most intelligent and driven student is going to be negatively affected if they do not get enough attention in the classroom. Kids that are not challenged may have their intelligence wasted in the classroom and may not excel the way they otherwise could.
- There is nothing wrong with some personal expression. Many teachers decorate their classrooms with inspirational posters and wise quotes. The fact is that most of these items are there the teachers and not the students. Rather than surrounding students with items that they are going to ignore for an entire school year, why not add splashes of color in the form of favorite artworks? Many new teachers focus so intently on doing things "by the book" that they may lose their own personality in the process.