January 7

Teaching Anxiety

I’m going to be honest with you all… There are times when the thought of becoming a teacher scares the crap out of me. There are so many things that could go wrong. I could teach a lesson completely wrong. I could teach a lesson correctly, but what if none of my students understand? What if all the students turn against me and I have to barricade myself behind my desk?

OK, may the last scenario was a little far fetched (fingers crossed), but nonetheless, these thoughts run through my mind. This led me to wonder if anyone else felt this way before becoming a teacher. A post on teaching.monster.com gave me the relief I was looking for; there are other people out there with teaching anxiety! In fact, they posted a list of 15 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Teacher:

1. Relating to every student takes research.
2. Be Prepared for anything and everything to happen on your watch.
3. Student teaching may not completely prepare you for your own classroom.
4.What you want to teach may not be in demand when you look for a job.
5.Working with parents is hard.
6. Your principal can be your greatest ally or biggest enemy.
7. More degrees mean more pay.
8. Earning the respect of students is hard work: the older the students, the harder the work.
9. Getting supplies for class is sometimes impossible unless you spend your own money.
10. The day before a vacation day brings back child-like excitement.
11. You’ll make some of your best friends teaching in a school.
12. The internet is your friend.
13. Only someone who’s been alone in a classroom full of students can appreciate exactly what your job is like.
14. A note of thanks from a parent or student will mean more than any gift.
15. Students are amazing creatures.

While I know there are going to be times when I completely doubt myself and my teaching abilities, I know that this is normal for a teacher. In hindsight, I’m sure it helps to keep teachers on their toes, bettering themselves for the sake of their students.

December 22

Teachers as Leaders

Every report card I can remember bringing home had one thing that stayed constant from Kindergarten to Grade 12. My marks varied on each report, but the line “Spencer is a leader” was always present. For the longest time, I just brushed it off. There were other students that I would recognize as much more powerful leaders than me. I was never on Student Council in high school, I was never the captain of a sports team, and I was never had the top mark in the classroom. But year after year, teachers recognized me as a leader.

Thinking back, I can remember times when I would have my desk moved beside a student that was struggling with their school work. I was also sat beside special education students throughout elementary school. It never occurred to me until later in life that I was sat beside them as a positive role model; a leader.

I’ll admit, I always thought of teachers as authority figures and “adults”, but rarely as leaders. Only those teachers that coached sports teams or ran leadership programs were leaders in my eyes. But what never occurred to me is that teachers could perhaps be the most under-appreciated leaders in our lives. Maybe the lesson they taught us was dry and boring, but it’s the skills they didn’t blatantly teach us that fostered leadership skills in each and every one of us.

Teaching and leadership skills
I’ve had teachers that I hope to one day be like, and I’ve had teachers that I hope to never be like. Regardless, these teachers have given me a sense of idealized influence, pushing me to pursue a career in teaching to either emulate or correct their teaching strategies. A good teacher makes you want to be them when you grow older. Perhaps this is what happened to me in Kindergarten?

Teachers can also be motivational inspiration. I’ve had teachers that, despite the trials that they are going through in their personal life, they perform every day at work at an exceptional level. Teachers who have lost loved ones, broken up with partners, or had medical complications with their pregnancies, yet they stand strong at the front of that classroom and give their all for the sake of their students, showing them that no matter what is going on in your life, you are always able to help someone.

Students that feel as though their teacher has given them individualized consideration speaks volumes. These are the teachers that go out of their way to set goals with the student, help them to achieve them, and celebrate with them when they accomplish those goals. They go out of their way to make personal connections with each of their students, displaying a genuine concern for what each person needs to develop fully.

Of course, you cannot just place any leader at the front of a classroom. In order for the students to succeed academically, the leaders must be a teacher, providing the students with intellectual stimulation. This does not equal teaching out of a textbook (BORING!), but rather facilitating activities that engage the students and allow them to further their knowledge in a creative and interactive way. These teachers encourage students to think outside of the box, rather than allowing them to regurgitate knowledge on a test.

Some of the most influential role models and leaders in my life are the teachers that went above and beyond their role, treating and shaping me as a person rather than just a student. My passion for helping others and my desire to provide a positive school experience for a child is the drive behind me wanting to become a teacher. I look forward to having an opportunity to shape youthful minds and foster the personal growth of students one day, when I become a teacher.

Teacher-Leader-1

December 21

I’M A TEACHER! Well, sort of…

I may not have achieved my ultimate goal of being a teacher in my own classroom with my own students, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere! I’ve recently been hired at Oxford Learning and have been getting training over the last two months. Now, I’m considered an Oxford Learning Teacher!

Oxford Learning Logo
I have learned so much since starting as a teacher, and I really respect what they stand for. Oxford Learning has assumed a cognitive approach to learning, aspiring to teach their students how to be the best students possible, in areas such as confidence, self-esteem, homework habits, social skills, and of course academics. From their website:

Life-long tools like high self-esteem, an active, agile mind, and an understanding of how to study, learn, and think. Only Oxford Learning® puts all these outcomes within your child’s reach — along with better grades — with our cognitive approach to learning, where we focus on helping children learn how to learn.
The fact that I get to go to work each week as a teacher and I am able to make a difference in the life of a student is something that I am very grateful for. This is just the beginning of a lifetime of teaching!
December 20

Back to the Basics

I figured before I could start a website dedicated to education, teaching, and becoming a teacher, I should take a step back and define what it is that I will be talking about.

What is education? (Google Dictionary)

1. The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
2. An enlightening experience.

What is the purpose of education? (Forbes)
  • To prepare children for citizenship
  • To cultivate a skilled workforce
  • To teach cultural literacy
  • To help students become critical thinkers
  • To help students compete in a global marketplace

What is a teacher? (dictionary.reference.com)

1. A person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession instructor.

What makes a great teacher? (Huffington Post)
  • A teacher teaches students, not a subject matter.
  • A teacher never ever gives up.
  • A teacher is a gift. Cherish them.

Why become a teacher? (CollegeXpress)

1. It’s fun.
2. You’ll learn a lot.
3. It will help you keep your own life in perspective.
4. Teaching is a very respectable profession.
5. Teachers get to be a positive influence on the next generation of young people.

While all of this information is just the basics, it’s a solid starting ground for the information that will be presented in the days/weeks/months/years to come!