** This was written in May, and never published for some reason. Hey. It was a tough year last year. She's starting again as my full-time student teacher this month, so this will be a reoccuring series: things I want her to know.
Today is the first day that my student teacher is not with me any more. She's actually just been a student observer for two days a week this semester, and then she'll be a full time student teacher next year. I am very lucky to know her and have her in my room. She's a Christian, and her boyfriend used to be on staff with YL, so she knows what I do on Monday nights and understands that I love Jesus, and that is directly related to my classroom ways.
Now, this group is a particularly tough group of kids to teach, though there are some wonderful chidlren sent directly from God Himself to get me through this year. Because of that, and because she's already been observing another teacher for ten weeks and also been in "teacher school" for some time, I knew I wanted her to understand some different things with this group.
First and foremost, I want her to understand that nothing she learns in school will prepare her to be a real teacher. Several times in the classroom, I asked her "Did they teach you anything about how to deal with this in your classes?" and with wide eyes she assured me they did not.
So, here are my lessons for a teacher-to-be. Some of them I actually verbalized and explained to her, and some I just hope she saw in me and the classroom and the kids.
1. Flourescent lighting is evil and classical music is a God-send in getting children to calm the h-e-double-hockey-sticks down.
2. You have to separate the behavior from the child. Even if junior was being a complete jack-nut during the lesson (which, I promise you, she observed on more than one occasion), you still have to help them when they don't understand because they weren't listening to you.
3. You have to put aside yourself if you are going to teach them what they need to know. You will have to get over so many things.
4. You have to prepare them for life, not just the test.
5. You have to let them know you believe in them so that they can believe in themselves.
6. You have to talk to them about yourself so they know you are human and will remember that when you make a mistake.
7. Even if the kids haven't been good and they are wild, and you don't want to do something hands-on with them, you have to get over it and still do the lesson and pray that they get what they need to out of it. (And they will). Even if it's the fact that a pickle is a conductor of electricity.
8. You have to work some time in your day, even if it's the last twenty minutes of the day to let your guard down and play with the kids. It helps you remember why you come to school every day.
9. Always assume parents are on your side until otherwise proven. They want what's best for their kids, even more than you do if you can believe it, and it's much easier to work with them than against them. That being said, some people are just crazy- no way around it.
And my personal favorite:
10. Even teachers who have been teaching for years will have lessons that are epic fails. Epic. I told her about the kindergarteners and metric system and ice cream in a bag epic fail and assured her that no matter how wonderful you think you are, you will fall flat on your face sometimes. You will use phrases like "As God is my witness I will never make cinnamon ornaments at Christmastime again!"
And you will mean it.