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.

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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.

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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



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