Most teacher prep programs are pretty good these days. I know that pre-service teachers at my own alma mater spend a lot more time in the classroom than we did when I went there twenty years ago. No college program can give you the whole picture, though. Here are 5 things that yours may have neglected to mention! On a side note, how could it be twenty years since I was an undergrad? When did I get so old?!
- No teacher writes a 2-page lesson plan for every 30 minute lesson. It’s impossible. Using the little squares in the traditional plan book is okay. No one will throw you in the dungeon for it!
- It’s okay to hug your elementary students or pat them on the back. Just don’t touch them in any way when anyone is angry. A gentle hand on the back as you ask a student to get in line can be described to a parent or administrator as a shove if the student is angry. Just don’t take the chance.
- There will be students you desperately try to help and just don’t get anywhere. You only have them for one year out of their lives. Just do your best and don’t beat yourself up about it.
- It’s okay to use textbooks! Your district paid a lot of money to provide them for you, and many of them include great ideas for differentiation, managing materials, project-based learning, and incorporating literature. Go ahead and use them!
- Experienced teachers may naysay some of your enthusiastic, new teacher ideas. If there is specific feedback (“That’s a big time commitment”), listen and consider with an open mind, then make your own decision. There are hundreds of reasons why something might work for you and not for another teacher. If the feedback isn’t specific (“That’ll never work”), ask for clarification, or just ignore it!
You’ll find your own way over time. The enthusiasm and excitement you feel as a new teacher is great fuel for all you want to do! Use it!
Did I leave out something that you wish they’d told you in college? List it in the comments section!