Before I had time to quilt and sew plus blog about it I was a teacher. I loved my job especially during graduation time of year when students are ending one level of school and going on to another. Majors and lives are being decided and some will decide, hey I think I will be a teacher. I recently met an aspiring new teacher and as we talked I realized I wished I could talk to more than just him, I would love to pass out some insights I gained from teaching 35 years in Illinois public schools. Before you commit, please read these 10 ways to know if you’re cut out to be a teacher.
1. Are you passionate about a certain subject you want to teach? Do you eat, breathe and love it? Do you read about it on your own, seek out experiences with it and even dream about it? Great, because students need to learn from teachers who have passion and you need that fervor to make it through your career.
2. Are you intellectually alive? Do you read? Books? Do you love to learn new things and have new experiences? Do you embrace intellectual stimulation? Terrific, because students learn best from teachers who are engaged in learning themselves, it’s the classic do as I do situation.
3. Do you have a thick skin? Will you be able to take criticism from parents, students, parents, administrators, parents, other teachers and parents? Can you sort through what is valid and improve and shrug off the crazies? With a minimum of crying? Yay, because you won’t get many accolades until way down the road and everyone is a critic.
4. Do you have a lot of common sense? Do you innately know the answer to whether or not you should have sex with students, party with students, get drunk in a shirt with a school logo, talk about personal details of your life in classroom or want to be friends with your students? Would you be wise enough to not resign your teaching job via Youtube? Sigh of relief because we need ADULTS to be in charge.
5. Are you willing to have a huge bag of tricks for communicating and teaching students? One way won’t work, your words that have always gotten through to kids won’t with every child. New ideas come down the pike and although teaching is an art, you constantly need to add to your skills. Your passion is like the medicine but the pedagogy is the delivery system, both are needed to teach. Yes? Hip hip hooray, we need flexible artists and magicians (ie teachers) in our schools.
6. Do you like kids, adults and yourself? Even when they are misbehaving, particularly when they are misbehaving? Wonderful, because LIKING kids is pretty important if you are going to spend 35 years closed up in relatively small rooms with them.
7. Do you have impulse control? Are you prepared to bite your tongue and then bite it again? Can you not swear even when you really want to? Can you write and say unpleasant news in a diplomatic way? Will you show up and give it your all even when you don’t feel like it? Will you grade those papers, make up that test, turn your grades in on time and go to meetings even when you really really want to do something else? Phew, because we have too many adults with impulse and anger management issues in this world, kids needs role models who don’t trash talk.
8. Are you a motivator? Can you convince children to do what they would rather not do? On a daily basis? Can you share your passion for your subject matter? I hope so because you will need to motivate these kids for your subject and all the ever increasing standardized tests they will have to take in your class.
9. Are you prepared to never be rich? I thought so or you wouldn’t have chosen to be a teacher. I got a fair wage and good benefits when I worked and I hope you do too.
10. Are you willing to lay down your life for your students? I can’t even believe I wrote that because when I started teaching it wasn’t even a thought. After a while, it became a thought for me, would I have courage under fire? I never was tested, I just had drills. I hope you are never tested either.
OK. teacher talk over. I am sew happy to be mainly a quilter on this site.
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