“You are the lone-nut” -Elisabeth Ellington.
Now isn’t that refreshing?
You are 1) alone, and 2) crazy. Welcome to the wonderful world of teaching.
Upon first hearing this statement, I, like many of classmates, went into an instant panic. How is it that you can manage a classroom without knowing what to expect, how to act, or how to handle your students? The answer…you don’t.
I have come to the painstaking conclusion that I will have to put my OCD and perception of perfection in “time out” when it comes to “me in the classroom.” It is impossible to know how to act, when you have never been in the place to act.
You cannot expect what you haven’t experienced.
You cannot control the uncontrollable.
You cannot succeed without failing.
Now that’s enough to make any pre-educator run for the hills or to the blank employee application to McDonalds. UNLESS (ah, yes!) unless you are able to realize that failing is actually the golden key. Failing enables you as a teacher to demonstrate your vulnerabilities as a human being, to show your students that mistakes are mistakes NOT tragedies, to show your students that YOU ARE HUMAN. Teachers make mistakes, students make mistakes, the President of the United States of American makes mistakes. And you know what, that. is. okay.
There I said it; mistakes are okay, failure is okay. I’m okay with failing! But, I am only okay with failing when I can grow from it. I can only allow myself to fail if I can allow myself to find the success in the failure, to move forward and struggle on, to change the bad and try the good (even if it turns out to be another “bad”).
I sound like a lone-nut. I am a loner to my future classroom….and that drives me crazy. So what can I do about it? Plan? Plan so much that I cannot fail? No. For myself, for my sanity, I must not plan details but rather plan strategies. I must plan me, my interests, my habits, my practices. These aspects will shape my success, they will shape my failure, and they will shape how I work through the failure.
“Writing teachers much be writers and they must be master teachers” -Penny Kittle
I came across this quote in reading Penny Kittle’s “I Believe.” Immediately I had to jot it down. Shortly after I set aside my reading and jumped right into my writer’s notebook. It was from this quote and from my past “writer’s block” or laziness that I realized in order for me to improve, I had to practice. And there is no better time to start than NOW.
If I don’t practice my writing skills, I cannot expect to teach writing effectively, or that my student’s will practice their writing skills. Lead by example.
The word “believe” has recently become very dear to me. It is one of the few terms that comes to mind when I think about my journey through college. I had to BELIEVE I could achieve-the same notion I want my student’s to be able to adapt, practice, and embrace.
“Believe” is also one of my “5 Words” I selected for my future classroom. I, myself, believe that all students have the capability to succeed. Now the tricky part; getting students to believe in themselves. This also ties in with my “bottom line” for teaching. Even if I can’t “get through” to a student…even if they despise reading and writing…I still want them to be able to believe. This is my bottom line of “positive” change I have to achieve as a teacher.
Happy Friday Everyone.
When people are asked what their biggest fear is a typical response would be, “oh, spiders” or “heights” or even “going to Walmart alone.” However, when thinking about a career as a Secondary Teacher, different fears are explored. Fears of violence, potty breaks, mouthy students, loss of temper, pit stains, and failure all seem to come to mind. As any fear, it is something you wish to avoid. However, as a High School Teacher…there is no possible way to avoid these common teaching fears. Dr. Ellington declared that every single fear our class had listed she herself had come into contact with. Fear is the basis of learning. Fear is what challenges us to overcome obstacles and hurdle into modifications.
Modifying and experimenting are two key terms that I have already embraced as a “pre-teacher.” I know I am going to fail, I know I am going to disappoint, I know I am going to draw a blank with my students and with myself, BUT I also know that from those downfalls I will rise. My downfalls and comebacks will be what shape my career, my methods, and my teacher identity.
(All this talk of downfall and rise reminds me of the Chumbawamba tune “I Get Knocked Down.” Such an inspirational collection of musical notes and lyrics((said no one ever))….perhaps I’ll incorporate this into my daily routine as a new teacher-or not.)