Monday, May 12, 2014

So you want to be a teacher . . .

How hard can teaching be?

After all, what is there to know?

As a college graduate you know your subject. All you have to do is teach what you know to your students.

But, what if a student doesn't get it the first time through?

Do you know enough explain it in a different way?

And what happens when the student still doesn't get it? Do you know it well enough to explain it a third or fourth different way?

Teaching is not only about knowing your subject - although that is important. Teaching is also about knowing why your students don't know. It is about understanding their misconceptions, the holes in their thinking.

Knowing your subject well is critical if you want to be a teacher. But knowing how to help someone else know the content is equally important.

But teaching doesn't stop there.

Teaching is also about building relationships, engaging students so that they will be willing to work hard.

How do you build relationships?

Here's an example.

Teachers find ways to connect with students, to demonstrate to students that you care about them, that you want them to succeed. Many times those relationships are built outside of the school day. Teachers attend events - plays, concerts, athletic events. Teachers chaperon field trips, dances, academic and athletic competitions - all without complaint because they understand that it is important. It is part of the job.

Teachers stand in the hall and say hello to students.

Teachers stroll through the lunch room and see what students are doing.

Teachers listen as students talk.

If you want to be a successful teacher you will be willing to invest the time it takes to reach students.

If you want to be a teacher I applaud you. But recognize that teaching is more than you think it is.

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