Posted by: malia | September 22, 2007

teaching meme

found this meme here which i found through tenseteacher. it’s neat reading another teacher’s perspective, especially since she also teaches primary grades 🙂 as she states at the top of her blog: “This is a blog for TEACHERS WHO ROCK and are frustrated by the day to day drama that gets in the way of our interactions with children.” i’m not one that rocks, but the frustration part is soooo accurate! anyway, onto the meme, which i can see is going to be more difficult than others i’ve done…

1. I am a good teacher because…
ugh. this is hard. i don’t think i am a good teacher, honestly. there are teachers all around who are soooo awesome, and i’ll never live up to their greatness. i’m constantly learning from them, though, and thus i can improve, so maybe that’s a good quality to have.

*sigh* that was like pulling teeth.

2. If I weren’t a teacher, I would be…
probably working in an office. my jobs previous to teaching were all office jobs. i actually wouldn’t mind going back and sometimes loooong to go back to a simple job like this when i’m totally stressed out at work. my dream job, though, would be to be a backup singer/dancer in a band and be able to travel the world doing concerts! heeheehee. but we’re being realistic. so i would probably be a secretary or clerk or something like that.

3. My teaching style is…
firm but fair. this is what i always tell other teachers when they ask for advice. not be all yelly about it, but be firm with the students. and always make sure you treat them fairly, even if there’s one that totally irritates you (and believe me, there are!!!). i command respect from them…but at the same time they know they are loved and cared about in my classroom, and that they can come to me to talk about anything (which is why i can’t get rid of them sometimes after school! they hang around my classroom, just chatting away, even kids who are no longer in my grade level!). i firmly believe that when kids feel safe and cared for, that’s when they really take off in learning, so i do my best to maintain that type of environment in the classroom, behaviorwise, so that the learning can indeed go very far.

4. My classroom is…
errr…interesting. to say the least. 😛 i try to keep it nice and neat, but … 😀 it is also very colorful. i put up a lot of artwork (one of the few teachers that actually still does art with the kids any more!!!) and i like to color and draw pictures on all my charts. books and supplies are all color-coded according to subject area. i try to put up a lot of evidence of learning, as well as accompanying standard. i do wish though my room was bigger, with more wall space. it would be nicer, too, for the kids, if we could have air conditioning. i’m fine with the weather; i’m used to the heat after all these years, but then again, i’m not the one running around outside at recess, and coming back to the classroom all sweaty and hot and thirsty, and unable to concentrate. i often think of how much more productive we could be if the kids had a nice, cool classroom to come to after recess. *sigh* that’s just something you have to deal with when you’re ignored by the d.o.e. (except when it comes to test scores, then they come after you…but that’s another story). sorry, end of rant.

5. My lesson plans…
are pretty thorough. i’ve been thanked by several substitutes for having nice, thorough lesson plans. maybe that’s just their nice way of saying that the plans are TOO detailed. heeheehee. no room for anything else! 😛

my lesson plans for myself though are not as detailed, but it is all plotted out for the whole year. i just sit down and go through all my books and stuff i have to teach and plot it in at the beginning of the year, making sure i hit each and every standard. and all it is, really, is just writing down when i’m teaching what. i don’t go into specifics, really. just writing down when i’m teaching what, and leaving spaces in between because as we all know, nothing ever goes along with the schedule…sometimes things are fast, and sometimes things take weeks. not to mention assemblies, assessments, articulations…so i’m not detailed for myself and there’s LOTS of room for change, whereas my sub plans? not so much. 😛

6. One of my teaching goals is…
something i alluded to earlier…making sure my kids feel safe and cared for so that they can take off in their learning. just showing a little care can make these kids feel so special and they’ll do anything to try and please you. they’re such loving, wonderful kids. it’s the least i can do to make sure that they feel it back from me. then they can go on to be the independent lifelong learners i want them to be.

7. The toughest part of teaching is…
living up to the parents’ expectations, or lack thereof. i have parents on both extremes. i have the ones who are always in your face and questioning everything you’re doing and your qualifications and your age and your personality…and then i have those that don’t care at all. they couldn’t care less. they never help out the kids, pass on an attitude that school is not necessary, and there’s no support at all. it’s so hard to deal with these both. i admit, i have been scared off by quite a few parents, and i really, really have a hard time with the first type of parent…but at the same time, when you have the second type, and you’re expected to bring the student up to a certain level, but he never does his homework, never gets read to at home, never practices, hardly comes to school…then what? parents are a big part of that “drama” that i cannot deal with. i thought it would be easier once i became a parent…but it wasn’t. i can kinda get where someone is coming from…but at the same time, i would like for them to walk in my shoes, as well, and see what is expected of you from all these other outside influences (govt, admin, etc.). i would love to just be able to work with the kids, and not have to deal with anything else. but of course, that’d never happen.

i also find that the worse parents to deal with are those who happen to be teachers, or at least, work in schools (especially educational assistants). they think they know everything and are extra hard on you, when you’d think there’d be more empathy, at least.

8. The thing I love most about teaching is…
the kids. first and foremost (and perhaps the SOLE reason), it’s gotta be the kids. i love being with them. i love helping them. i love guiding them and then letting go, and watch them take off into the wind. yes, some drop and you’ll have to get them up on their feet again, but some just take off soaring, and that’s just a great feeling to see. a proud mama bird moment 😀

9. A common misconception about teaching is…
that it’s soooooo easy, that anyone can do it. especially, those that can’t DO, teach. i HATE that saying. it may be true of college professors (heh, heh) but not elementary teachers. you know how many parents i’ve had help out just for like an hour and then go home exhausted, saying, i don’t know how you do this all day, every day! and then go home to your OWN child! no, it’s not easy. not when you have parents breathing down your neck. not when you have parents who never answer your letters home. not when you have admin telling you to do this, this, this, and d.o.e. telling you to do that, that, that, and there’s nowhere to meet in the middle? i mean, if it was sooooo easy to do, then wouldn’t more people be doing it? wouldn’t subs be able to take over the class WITHOUT us making the lesson plans for them? would half of the teachers still totally leave the profession after 3 years? it’s difficult, and it’s thankless. sure, there’s teacher appreciation day, hooray, we get a free pencil from the principal. yippee. that’s really showing how much they appreciate the many long hours we put in only to have it shoved back in your face because it’s not up to what is expected (when what’s expected is not even fully explained in the first place).

maybe i’m just stupid enough to keep doing it.

oh, and another big misconception…”well, you guys are so lucky, you have so much time off.” GRRRRR. i won’t even go into that one!!! i’ll add on another 1,000 words!!! (heehee, i’m so enthralled with the little word counter on the bottom of this screen!!! 😀 )

10. The most important thing I’ve learned since I started teaching…
is that you can’t please everyone. i’m still learning that. because it really does break my heart when a parent comes in your face and starts going off. you really do care about their child, and you work with them, and it’s not appreciated, because in their eyes, you’re not doing ENOUGH, or at least not doing it the way THEY want it…and others tell me, just brush it off. you can’t please everyone. i’m slowly learning to do that, but it still hurts me very much. heehee, okay, maybe i haven’t learned that lesson, then. hmmm. i think i’ve learned that i cannot let it consume my life. i may get caught up in a lot of work, but then i have to always tell myself, take a breather. spend time with the kid. go play games. go do a meme 😛 i need that break to maintain my sanity. and while i was all about work the first 2-3 years of my career, it took my mom having a heart attack and being hospitalized in my 4th year of teaching to make me step back and see just how much more important family is. i had a tough year a few years ago, and if i had not had my son, or my mom, at that time, and i was only about work, work, work…it would’ve killed me. i needed my mom to take me out of there and take me to volleyball games to get my mind off it…i needed my son to look at so i had a reason to pull myself out of bed each morning, to another school day full of dread…i needed to learn to fully enjoy breaks by not doing anything school-related. and i pulled through. now i know, when things just get to be too much…i need to step away. i spend time with the family for a while, and leave school behind. then when the “drama” is over, i can go back to school, feeling refreshed and ready to start again. so yes, that was an important lesson to be learned 😀

wow. that was a long one. and very … heart-spilling. yikes. maybe i need to move it over to my other journal…

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