On Being a Teacher-Part 1

Students Ask the Darnedest Things 

As a high school teacher, my students will sometimes ask me about what it takes to be a teacher. I always say that you need to like teenagers.

Obvious, I know. But if you’re gonna spend your week interacting with teenagers inside your classroom and within the school, it really helps to like them. And your students will know. Trust me.

Students are very perceptive. Never underestimate their abilities.

Practice What You Preach

It’s a given that teachers want respect from their students. And just like any other relationship, it should be mutual. In treating our students with respect, they learn what respect is. It also gives them a model to follow. Bonus.

We can’t assume that when we ask students to treat us with respect, they will automatically know what that means or looks like. This is especially true for younger students, but it never hurts to remind all students, regardless of their age. And the best way to remind them is through our example.

Students learn by observation. So be a role model for your students. Click to Tweet


Never Say Never

Before I started teaching, I would have never considered myself a leader. However, after a couple years in the classroom, I came to realize the ability to lead was kind of a job requirement.

Our students aren’t mini-adults. They still have years to go before reaching that milestone. My classroom hosts teenagers from thirteen to seventeen, and I’m the only adult in the room.

I set the tone and direction for my classroom.

The direction I want to lead my students will depend on the group and my learning goal for the lesson. Students will need guidance to reach that goal. Otherwise, some will make it across the finish line, but many won’t. And no wonder, it would be a lot like navigating an unknown road in the dark.

Students will have a much better chance of getting where they need to go with a clear set of directions and a helping hand to guide them.

Therefore, it’s up to me to guide my students across the finish line. A role I’m honored to fill.

Inspiration Is a Beautiful Thing

In going after the goal together, it becomes “our” goal. Ideally, students will be sufficiently inspired by my amazing set of directions and enthusiasm to adopt the goal as their own as well. The goal then becomes their goal. At which point, students are on their way to becoming independent learners. Hip hip hooray!

And I always encourage students to help each other achieve a particular goal.

Learning is a process, and we will all encounter difficulties at some point. Fortunately, in a classroom filled with other students, no one need struggle alone. It takes time and effort to turn difficult into easy. In working together, students can also gain from each other’s strengths.

No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Click to Tweet

What’s Good for the Student, is Good for the Teacher.

I’ve been teaching for some years now, and every day is a new learning experience. Over the years, I’ve learned as much from my students as they’ve learned from me. Students never cease to surprise me. They’re capable of so much more than they often realize. 

To be a teacher then, is to be a life-long learner. The very thing we want to instill in our students.

Teachers being students as well. And just as we want our students to learn, we must also want to learn. Embrace the experience, for each experience is an opportunity for growth.

©Brenda Baker ~ Caffeinated Ramblings 2017



10 thoughts on “On Being a Teacher-Part 1

  1. I have never taught small children– always adults in various capacities. I was an English teacher in Japan and a training manager in factories and customer service. In all cases, knowing the subject matter very well was crucial. I always studied my subject matter by actually doing the same jobs for a period of time so that I could understand the environment. I’m not sure how possible it is to assimilate to the lives led by our young people these days. That must be challenging!

    1. It can be challenging, but worth the effort. Teenagers today are growing up in a different world then we did. Growing up has never easy, and I tell my students that I wouldn’t want to do it over. Once was hard enough. As educators, we need to be open to what our students have to say, and do our best to understand where they’re coming from. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting btw!

  2. I love the positive realism that this post provides about teaching. I believe your open positive attitude makes you one awesome teacher!!

    1. Thank you, Emily! I’m still learning as I go. 🙂 I truly appreciate your amazing words of support!

  3. Wow! An amazing cross level post! I have always believed teachers are incredible leaders and clearly you are! This also rings true in other professions. It spoke to me on a personal level as a leader of my team. It has movtivated and inspired me, thank you!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful words, Beth! I truly appreciate such amazing support! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Brigid. 🙂 Teachers learn from their students on a daily basis. I’m honored to be a member the teaching profession. And thank you for the feedback on the quotes as well. 🙂

  4. Bravo! Teachers are society’s most valuable resource and deserve support and admiration from everyone whether they have children in school or not. Thank you Brenda for embracing your profession and helping young people realize that they can become amazing adults!

    1. Thank you so much, Tami! This is my first attempt at writing about teaching, so I really appreciate your support! 🙂

Your comments always give me reason to smile