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Why I Elected to Travel the Road to Teaching

Why I Elected to Travel the Road to Teaching
***The first part of your paper should explain your life experiences which led you to pursue a career in teaching.

name the 3 main keys to success as identified in “Keys to Success for New Teachers.” Also, address how the knowledge of these keys can help you be a successful teacher.
You probably went into education because you care about kids and you want to make a
difference in their lives. However, be reasonable. You will not save them all. Your
first year you’ll be doing good if you can just stay positive and have lessons ready every
hour of every day. You will not be able to make every student leave your class feeling like
that was the most worthwhile class they will have all day.
Don’t expect lots of positive feedback from students. Students complain no matter
what effort you put into your lessons. Just be sure to have an educational objective/reason
to back up everything you do in class. And don’t expect students to jump for joy at your
efforts to make class more interesting. However, during your second year, students will
come back and compliment you, but not usually at the time you have them in class.
Teach what you are comfortable teaching. This advice was given to me by a
faculty member. It was nice knowing that this was acceptable. In high school you are
handed a curriculum and set free to run your class. I liked having the freedom to teach what
I knew. New teachers have enough to learn — about school administrative routines, which
forms to fill out, and so on — without having to learn a new content.
You have many great ideas for your classroom that you’d like to be able to do. But you
can’t do it all your first year. Or any year for that matter. There are always better
ways of doing what you’re doing. Don’t let that frustrate you.
Teaching is an art, not a science. It will take time for you to find a comfortable teaching
style, and it will change a little every year. Methods that work for some will not work for others. There is no “right” way to teach. You must find the way that works for you.
Organize Your Life
Although this sounds harsh, don’t expect to have much of a life outside of
student teaching or your first year of teaching. Beginning teachers need almost every
waking moment to be prepared for the classroom. Say good-bye to television for a while,
say good-bye to late-night chats with friends. You need to prepare and you need sleep. That
is all you have time for!
Do as much ahead of time as you can to get ready for school. Find a lesson plan
formatyou can use. Find a method of keeping grades that will help you keep your sanity.
(I have to turn in grades for athletic and other extra-curricular eligibility every single
week.) That is what computers are for!
After you complete a unit, take a few minutes to jot down some impressions about how
the unit worked. List changes that you should make before teaching it again. This will
save you the heartache of making the same mistakes twice, and it makes the second year
easier to look forward to.
It is OK if you are only a day or two ahead in your lessons. Many
veteran teachers will be at least a week ahead, and will have good ideas of what they will
be teaching next month. Don’t worry, I’ve never met a new teacher who was able to do this.
Have assurance that you
are not alone in the desperate grasp for ideas for a unit you start in two days.
Reflect
Although the first years of teaching seem to consume you, you do need to stop to reflect
on how you are doing. Make short notes about how policies work, how units went,
and think about how you treat your students. After all, we are there for the students, and
there is more than content to teaching. However, this is difficult to see the first years.
Take compliments seriously and criticism lightly.I feel like I make more
mistakes than I do good. But we can’t let this get us down. Mistakes are how we learn.
Take the compliments you get and put them in a “warm fuzzy” file to pull out on a rainy
day.
Share, share and share! You must have someone to confide in. A spouse or
significant other is fine, but it really ought to be someone in the teaching field — a mentor
teacher, or even a new or student teacher. Many times just talking about frustrations and
joys gives you insight about the situation that you hadn’t seen before.
Share materials. Most teachers take it is as a compliment that you want to copy their
units. It is much easier having something to work from, something to build on, upon which
you can make changes that will fit your teaching style.
Write out your philosophy and have it handy. On days you wonder why you went
into the profession of education, pull it out and remember your reasons for becoming a teacher.
Have ways of encouraging yourself. Maybe it is a favorite poem, story or
audio/video tape. Mine is a audio tape of Guy Doud that came from a Dr. Dobson’s Focus
on the Family radio show. Guy Doud was Teacher of the Year, 1986-1987. He is entertains,
encourages and reminds me that I am in the right profession.
Take time for non-education reflection. You need to remain sane for your
sake and for your student’s sake. It will be difficult to do this many times, but I found that
when I was stressed the most, I wasn’t giving myself time to be “off-duty.” Enjoy music,
quiet time in prayer and/or moments just to be thankful for what you have.

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