Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top 10 Things Teaching has Taught Me

It's Tell All Tuesday with Diana with My Day in K and Jayme at Teach, Talk, Inspire. Join in the fun as we link up to tell 10 things teaching has taught us.

10. Learning is messy! Your classroom will only look immaculate the day before school starts. After that, there is no guarantee. While it helps to have a place for everything, I've learned not to stress over a little mess. (Sometimes there's painting projects drying on one table, a puzzle (mid completion) on another, plants growing in the windowsill, glitter on the floor...it just means a lot of learning happening! And that I need a bigger room...)

This needs to be my classroom door sign!

9. Always copy an extra.
Whenever we have a worksheet or art project, I always make extra copies/supplies. Chances are someone will lose, rip, spill on, or accidentally throw away theirs. No more mid-lesson runs to the copy machine!

8. Students are sponges.
Everything I say and do is being watched and learned from. *gulp* This doesn't mean I need to be perfect.*sigh of relief* It means how I act is an informal lesson on how to treat others, handle conflict, and ultimately be a learner!

7. Kids love to know that you are a "real" person. They love to hear about your stories. Make things personal. Relate to them! I always try to connect with my students by giving real life examples of learning from my life. Their ears perk up... and they remember it (long after I've forgotten that I told them), When I teach my kinders about "sharing equally" in our fractions unit, I tell about my little sister. When she was young, mom would make us share candy and gum. My sister would share, but she would NOT share it equally. (In fact, she would smush the smaller piece till it was the same length as the larger "half".) They think it's hilarious! (I had to laugh when they later referred to her as my "naughty sister". Haha! I had to tell a few good stories about her to even it out.)

6. I've learned that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of others. It's easy to pour so much time and energy into teaching that you forget to take care of your needs. Take time to relax and fill your tank!

5. Attitude is everything.
Your attitude influences your classroom's climate. I have found that when I'm having a "bad" day...everyone is having a "bad" day. When I'm stressed, I (unfortunately) exhibit less grace, understanding, and humor. This is a nasty cycle. This goes along with taking care of yourself. If you are finding that you are stressed...find ways to reduce it.
(Maybe you just need to give yourself a dose of grace...not everyday will go according to plan. Learn to be flexible and not beat yourself up about it.)

4. Look for the "current" doesn't refer to the present moment. Think of a ocean's current - it is the unseen force creating the waves we see.
This has been some of the best life advice I received from our school counselor. There will be times of conflict, weather with a student, family, or colleague. Sometimes you will receive "waves" of hurtful words or actions. Rather than focusing on those "waves", look at what my be fueling those reactions - the "current". Unless the "current" issue is dealt with... waves will continue to pop up.

3. There is no such thing as a cookie cutter year.
Each year, each class is so unique. I used to tell my husband... I only spend this much time at school because I haven't perfected my lesson plans, room decor, math tubs....  But now I realize that change is inevitable. What works great for one class might not for another. Every class has different gifts and needs. I've come to accept that I will never work a 40 hour week, but each year it will get "easier". Easier meaning, I will have more teaching strategies to pull from and will be quicker at identifying needs and knowing how to fill them.

2. Learn from others.
One of my favorite teaching quotes is Great teachers aren't born, they learn from the teacher next door. My colleagues are my virtual filing cabinets - they are full of valuable information and resources!

1. Each day is a gift!
Teaching is a job and a ministry. You never know how God is going to use you each day to bless a student or a family. Teaching is a privilege and I'm thankful that it's my profession! I couldn't imagine doing anything else!


  1. Hi Hannah!
    I couldn't agree more with #3. I seem to reinvent the wheel (kind of) every year and that's exactly why! Each class is different. Like you said, it does get easier because of all the tricks you have up your sleeve.

    Made with Love

  2. Love #8... students are sponges. They remember everything! That's what makes teaching such a special profession!