I have survived my first term of teaching. In Scotland, the first term finished on the 7th and right now I am in a 2 week holiday (October Holidays). So, how could I spend my first week of holiday? “Still thinking about school” is the answer. Therefore I have decided to write about 10 things I have learnt about teaching, funny and serious at the same time.
1. Teaching is harder than I thought. I have to say that having my own classes with no one to help me or another teacher that could come in front on the room when things got out of control is not as easy as I thought. With all the practice I had last year, this is way different and sometimes it feels incredibly hard. There were moments when I thought it was to much for me, but hey!! there are also so many funny moments and exactly when I felt low a pupil did something unexpectedly nice, or the class decided to be nice and listen to me. Teaching is hard, but as long as I can see the good parts, things are going to be just fine.
2. They don’t bring a pen/pencil. I have to say that this was the first thing I observed in my first week of school. And though now I sometimes find it funny, it is still equally annoying, but I cannot wait the moment when I will start saying: “I don’t have any more pencils in the class, so you have to do the work at home”. I think I will try this as an experiment once and see what happens, but I will definitely put the following poster somewhere in my class (priceless!!):
3. No names on the paper (homework or test). Some time in September, when I prepared my first class test, I just did not mention at the beginning of the test that everyone should put their names on the paper in front of them (for me it was an obvious thing to do). The problem was that I ended up with 10 out of 27 papers with no names on them and it took forever for the pupils to decided who wrote which paper. Next test I did 2 weeks after I applied the rule “No name on the paper, no grade” – worked wonders!
4. The level of noise (talking especially) can reach maximum very quickly. I have improved a lot on this and now I have classes when people are working in silence (if it is an activity where silence is required), but in my first month I was desperate for silence. I think I will learnt more about this in time.
5. Never be scared to get in touch with parents. I have to say that I was quite scared first to email parents and I thought I was causing trouble for the pupils, but this is so NOT TRUE. I cannot say I have started doing this every day, but I have observed a lot of change in behavior after I talked with parents (good change). I just think that this should be done with moderation.
6. Never get extremely angry when they answer back. This was again one of the hardest thing to manage. Every time someone was rude and answered back I got so angry, like I never thought I would be. And it just escalated so quick for me. It is so hard to manage this but I have to always remind myself that getting angry is not the solution and I always have to stay calm.
7. They find out so many motives to get out of class. I never imagined that people can get so inventive when it comes to motives to get out of class. Starting with feeling sick to going to see another teacher about a project, I think I heard so many. The good thing is that I started to recognize the lies and it gets so funny to see their face when I say “no problem, you can go, but I will phone the teacher first”, or “it’s better to go directly to the nurse and phone your parents if you are feeling so bad”. I am sure I will hear funnier excuses and I just hope I will not start laughing when they say it.
8. Homework is optional. I have no idea why someone would think homework could be optional, maybe I was raised to know that this is a MUST, but I got quite a lot of people asking me about this… Hmm!!…
9. Extremely proud when something works. I could never imagine how proud and good I could feel after something turns up exactly how I planned for a lesson. It is the best feeling of them all. It is even better when pupils think they are just playing a fun game, when in fact they are learning something…. AWESOME FEELING!
10. Going to sleep is not that easy. To end this list, I have to write about “sleep”. I have no idea why, when I put my head on the pillow my brain decides to think about school and not go to sleep. This is sometimes so hard to manage and I am continuously trying out different methods to just fall asleep and not think about the lessons I have to do next day or worry if someone will do something stupid. I realized that it does not matter how much I think about it, there is always something unexpected in a school day.
If you have advice, just feel free to comment bellow. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week. You can find me on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. I will try to post there as often as possible.
Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!