5 Things my Prac at Nudgee Taught Me.

  1. If you’re not passionate about teaching, don’t do it!

Walking into Nudgee College on Monday morning was like walking into a crowded room where everyone knows everyone except you. I was nervous, intimidated and I was scared, okay let’s be honest… I was petrified. It had been 14 years since I had stepped into a high school and that Monday was about to be my judgment day. I was either going to love it or hate it – it was either going to encourage my dream or crush it.

Thankfully, I spent the entire week with my heart full to the brim. Nudgee had ignited a fire within me and I had found my happy place. The number one thing that week taught me is that if you aren’t passionate about what you do, then don’t do it. If you don’t love being a teacher, then don’t be one. Enthusiasm and passion is infectious, if you want your students to learn and engage, they need to see the enthusiasm in you.

  1. The key to educating students is relationships, relationships, relationships…

image6Kids know when you are genuinely interested in their education and they can smell a fake from a mile away. If you aren’t there for them and their future, they will respect you less. If you don’t invest in them they won’t invest in you.

Another teacher-realization moment at Nudgee was working in a small group in a grade 6 class. Initially the boys were standoffish and didn’t really care for a new trainee teacher in their midst. When I asked their names, they replied with the attitude of, “why do you care, it’s not like you will be here long enough to remember.” For the next five minutes while I sat with my first student I proceeded to memorize the names of the boys in my head.

Those first five minutes were the hardest, I was greeted with the sound of crickets and envisioned tumbleweeds blowing by in the distance. However, once I had mentioned each boy by name and had a small conversation with them, their eyes lit up with curiosity. They actually cared what I thought about their articles and were even chuffed when I praised their hard work! By the end of the lesson their enthusiasm and reception towards me had changed dramatically.

Building a rapport with your students encourages them to learn!

  1. Not using Flipped Learning in classes is detrimental to students who want to learn.

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I remember loving numbers and equations in grade 8 and 9. I have this one fond memory of standing in front of my high school Math teacher. He was this math whiz with gigantic thick spectacles and I remember the look of pride in his face after I had completed a ridiculous equation in my head. I had added, subtracted, divided and multiplied these numbers to get a 5 digit number that was somehow correct!

I wanted to learn more, but at some point my teacher’s direct instruction left me several steps behind and I just never caught up. I am convinced that if I had been taught Math in high school with flipped learning videos, then right now I would be a Math genius. Okay… Perhaps not a genius… but I probably could have been studying to be a Math teacher right now, instead of English and Drama.

  1. This is an incredibly hard road to go down. 

If you really are here for your students and really want to invest your time into their learning development, then expect some hard work and long hours ahead. The best teachers I witnessed in action were exhausted from all the work they were doing, but they were still so enthusiastic about what they were doing.

Don’t get into teaching thinking that the holidays are amazing and it will be an easy going job. That is literally what everyone who isn’t a teacher says to me. From what I saw from these teachers, they never stopped investing their time into their students and their students were grateful for it.

Teaching is about being embedded into a community that strives to raise the best humans under your charge. It’s long hours with a multitude of extra-curricular activities and challenges everyday.

Your students will challenge you, other teachers will challenge you, life will challenge you and somehow you still need to be present and engaging and there for your students. You are more than just a teacher and I liken all of these amazing teachers to superheroes with super teaching powers!

I learnt one really important thing about myself during my practicum…

I learnt about my hope, that one day, I will be an amazing superhero to my students too.

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10 thoughts on “5 Things my Prac at Nudgee Taught Me.

  1. What beautiful piece – and it took me back to my early field placements and student teaching e pertinence too. Ahh, I remember those crickets well! In fact I still hear hm from time to time now 😆. But they aren’t unnerving anymore. It was wonderful to read about your perspective too. Your heart is clearly in what you’r doing and that is a beautiful thing.

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      1. I think you’ll find, as long as it’s filling and fueling your heart, you’ll be good to go. I am still a teacher. I just finished up my sixth year teaching full time (I was a Youth Minister before that). I teach theology and have a sophomore course that’s half church history/half peace and justice. I teach a course on World Religions that covers Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. And then I have a few electives I teach as well.

        What’s beautiful is when you finally hit that sweet spot (for me it was around year four or five) where you’re basically revising lessons and you’ve figured out how to space out your assignments so grading isn’t as overwhelming. It still gets that way sometimes! But not as much :). I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I sincerely feel blessed that I get to do what I do, crazy long hours and all.

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      2. Ah, that sounds amazing! Keep up the good work. You are very inspiring to a student teacher I must say! I hope I feel the same in 6 years as well…

        I grew up in a Hindu environment and came to faith a little later. I would be very interested to read about your religious studies in Hinduism, if you have any.

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      3. Hmm…have I written anything on the blog about Hinduism? I know I had some ideas. I’ll have to check it out and get back to you. If you’re talking about lesson plans, I do have a unit on Hinduism which you’d be welcome to see…although wading through a bunch of lesson plans may make for a boring way to spend your afternoon :).

        I’m happy to hear my still enjoying the job can be inspiring as you do your student teaching too. Honestly, now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Obviously the hours, planning, grading, etc. are long but it’s so worth it. I had an administrator tell me early on to make certain my lessons felt “like mine” as I waded through the curriculum and that was really helpful. You know? It was a sort of creative freeing to bring myself into the classroom and I don’t know how I could do it otherwise.

        As to your six years, I’ve read several articles that say if you can make it three years in teaching, you can make a life career out of it. So may the Force be with you :). I believe in you too!

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      4. Haha I would actually be interested in reading the content of that lesson plan! If you don’t have any blogs on it anyway.

        Thank you! I shall walk into my next prac with this tip! I’ll be teaching for the first time this time! Eeeek! A little scary!

        Thank you for believing in me!

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      5. It IS a little intimidating the first time you’re in front of a class! I remember the feelings associated with those first lessons well. I remember totally losing control of one class when I did my student teaching. My co-operating teacher came in after and said he was watching from the hall, there if things got TOO bad but he wanted me to experience that feeling. “Do you ever want that to happen to you again?” he asked. I obviously ad emphatically said, “NO!” So he told me, “Okay, now you know.” While I’ve had rowdy moments here or there I’ve never lost control like that again. It was a lesson well learned :).

        As to Hinduism, I’ve referenced it as part of posts on the blog (I discuss one of the lessons from the Katha Upanishad in my piece on the Champions and discuss the importance of Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Kali when I discuss the Divine Feminine in my posts on Thor and the new Wonder Woman movie). However, I’ve yet to do a totally Hindu-focused post…although you have me thinking of ideas now! If you would like to see the rest just let me know and I can send you an email.

        And, honestly, it’s easy to believe in you when I read the passion with which you talk about teaching. SO much of this job comes down to having your heart in it, because the hours and workload can be so heavy. The love with which you talk about teaching puts you in a good place to start. I’ll be excited to hear how your journey continues!

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      6. Okay, I’m officially petrified about losing control of a room! Haha! Thanks Michael!

        I would love to see the rest, my email is reshael@hotmail.com. It’s intriguing to me because it has been such a long time since I was immersed it that life and culture. I also want to see if your info reflects my experience 🙂

        Thank you again Michael! It’s really heartwarming to have someone half way across the world notice and say that 🙂 hehe

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      7. Ahahaha, no problem. If it helps, I should have been more scared of it :). But it was a valuable lesson nonetheless. And I survived! That’s the important part! Should you get caught like that, I’m certain you’ll survive too. Bonus – you’ll get a great story out of it as well!

        I’ll pull together my lessons and email them your way, probably tomorrow. I’ll be interested to hear what you think, how it lines up with your lived experience, and if I got anything wrong. You’ll have to be sure to let me know!

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