- 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.
- The key to educating students is relationships, relationships, relationships…
Kids 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!
- Not using Flipped Learning in classes is detrimental to students who want to learn.
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.
- 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.