Once A Teacher, Always A Teacher

Recently, I had the opportunity to teach all the six graders in my school. We needed to roll out Google Apps for Education, and I was able to match up my schedule with the student schedule with the computer lab schedule – a feat in itself, for sure!

What a great two days I had spending time with middle school. I got to see students through another lens, and be reminded of how exciting and nerve-racking it can be to facilitate learning. It was a wonderful day for several reasons, but especially because I got to spend a lot of facetime with students, focused on teaching and learning. A close second, however, was a reminder of all of the pressures, stressors, excitements and decisions that educators have to make every day. Did I remember to restate the objective, every day and every period? Was I sure that I was accommodating for each student in the class needed something a little different? Was a meeting students needs who needed to get the scaffolding? Was I holding the students back were ready to keep on going? Don't forget to monitor the conflict between those two students...

Throughout the first day there were a series of different teachers who work in the classroom support students. At the end of the day, I sought them out and asked, "How did it go? What do you think? Any feedback? Is there a better way that I could do that tomorrow?" One teacher suggested it might be helpful to have a visual to go along with my verbal directions – of course! Why didn't I think of that before I started? So, the next morning on Day Two, I frantically typed up step-by-step directions. I went running out of the office, photocopies hanging on my arm and flying down the hallway, while the teacher was holding the class waiting for me.

A few lessons learned:
1. Be flexible.
2. We teach kids first - about content/skills.
3. Students have strengths and weaknesses in various areas - no one is all one way across the board.
4. Teachers have a really, really tough job.
5. Teachers have a really, really great job.
6. Asking for and receiving feedback is helpful.  It feels good to focus on growing and improving.
7. Reflection is key - be it formal or informal, always work to grow and improve.
8. Always have a Plan B.  (And C.)
9. The capacity and eagerness to learn is a beautiful thing.  Respect it.
10. Educators must take care of themselves to take care of others!  

Until the next time!

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