Teaching ability: Natural or Acquired?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Bored of Ed, May 31, 2007.

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  1. Miss Jana

    Miss Jana Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2007

    These are interesting questions you've brought up, and I think it's really great that you are trying to hash out all this stuff now...I'm a lot like that myself! :)

    I have always felt I was a natural teacher...it's what I've always wanted to do. Still, it does take practice and training to work with kids...at least for me.

    I hope that during your field work you have an opportunity to work with different grade levels. To me, I think that is key. I know most people consider third grade "young", but not to me. My third graders basically thought I was weird, and they weren't interested in many of my activities at all. However, I also student taught in first grade and they LOVED me! Even though people consider third graders to be "young", they aren't to me. They are BIG! I just landed a job in Kindergarten, and I know it's where I belong. Kinder or First is the oldest I ever want to teach.

    Likewise, I think the opposite can be true. Perhaps the age group you are with now is too young for you...that's a possibility. I think if you get a chance to work with different ages, you'll find where you mesh.

    I agree with another poster...if you didn't have what it takes inside to be a teacher, you wouldn't be concerned about these things. You wouldn't have a determination to do this job. I think it takes practice to be good with kids...a lot of women have lots of experience with kids growing up....I didn't, so I will have to catch up as I teach. And the part about tripping over your words....I wrote a post on that awhile back and I think it just takes practice.

    For what it's worth, for a long time...every time I walked into the front of the elementary school, I felt like a kindergartener getting sent to the principal's office! It took me awhile to feel comfortable...I was so overwhelmed and in awe, I felt like a little kid.

    Also, one more thing....when you are interacting with kids now and during your student teaching...the one thing I learned...they know you aren't the "real" teacher, and it's always harder. I remember my mentor teacher in third grade doing some things that I would consider VERY boring, but because the kids saw her as THE teacher, they loved everything she did. I think kids often do want to please their real teacher, but they just don't care as much about other teachers around (at least it seemed that way with the third graders I worked with). Does that make sense?

    So don't worry if you don't hit it off at first during your student teaching...I think you'll be just fine...especially when you find that prime age group for you and you land your first job and you are the 'real' teacher. Just my two cents.... :)
     
  2. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Thanks, TG. You flatter me. :angel:

    I think I have made a LOT of mistakes in thinking that some kids are just like me, and I really still need to learn to avoid that in the future...

    I am also praying that I will come into my element when I have my own classroom. There's only so much you can do when you're trying to work with someone else's discipline system (or lack of which...), organization, and methods.:rolleyes:
     
  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If it's any consolation, Bored, I'm still working on "they're not all just like me..."
     
  4. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    I agree with this TG. :love:

    Bored of Ed, I always wanted to be a teacher...but the moment I started teaching, I started questioning myself on whether this was the right job for me.
    After student teaching, I was placed in night school, teaching adults (which is very different than teaching teens) and I did that for 3 years.
    This school year, I have been teaching teaching grade 8 and 9 - the "difficult age", and I found myself going nuts almost every week and looking forward to find a different career. I just didn't think I was fit for this job, because some important things, like like classroom management, just didn't come out naturally to me. Now, as the school year approaches it's end, I realize that I know how to "do my job" better than I did last year, and that I need to give one more try before I consider doing something different.
    Bored of Ed, you were given great advice in this thread...you need to give it a few more tries, and more importantly, acknowledge the age groups you would be more interested in working with, because that's something decisive, I think.
     
  5. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Bored, think art!! And the other discussion we just had...I think you and I are in the same boat...so lets make a deal...uh, forget that!

    I always played school, but I didn't want to be a teacher until high school, when I had my sights set on a specific not-yet-in-existance class...and discovered that I really was not cut out for that type of teaching when the opportunity did arise. I also did try a few different ages (within my pickiness-I won't go above K), and discovered that I do best with Pre-K.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Well, and there's no reason to decree that what isn't right now won't be right at some point in the future.
     
  7. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Rookie

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    Bored of Ed, I appreciate your post and the many responses to it. This is a question I have as well. I'm subbing now and will enter a credential program in the fall. As a sub I experience various levels of success, probably depending more on the class and its teacher than on me. There are times when, by the end of the day, I am slurring and transposing my words because I have become tired and overwhelmed. There are other times when the class seems to go well, and I think I've explained things well, and then I see the work that's turned in and am amazed at how much the students did NOT get it. I wish I could go back and try again, but of course I'm off subbing elsewhere the next day. I am counting on experience to help work some of this out. Then, sometimes things really do go well and I feel especially hopeful and optimistic.

    Perhaps your questions were meant for more experienced teachers, but what the heck, here are a few of my answers:
    No. But I always knew teachers and writers were the professionals that touched me most in my life.

    I am developing them; still learning.

    I'm kind of introverted and always assumed I'd want to do a quieter, more solitary or one-on-one job. Surprisingly to me, that kind of work was boring and lonely to me. I care more about education than most other things, so I decided to give teaching a chance. That way I can impact people directly, and still be involved in a topic (science) that is interesting to me. From what I've heard from longer-term teachers, it could take from 2-5 years of teaching to "know what I'm doing". So I'm planning to give it some time.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Kerfuffle, you might be surprised how many teachers are introverts.
     
  9. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I'm also a bit introverted... always thought I'd want to do 1:1, but recently I realized that 1:1 takes a lot more social skills than classroom teaching -- In a classroom, the dynamics kind of keep themselves going and you "just" need to steer them, whereas if you have a quiet or balky kid 1:1 you really need to be the one getting things moving.
     
  10. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Me! Me! I'm an introvert.

    You'd never guess by the way I call out on the forums.
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    It's true that many teachers are introverts. I am one of them, but you'd never know it at work. In "other" public places, shopping, get-togethers, etc, I am very quiet most of the time. Of course with age comes a certain entitlement to say what we want and wherever we are, so some of you introverts might be surprised how you change through the years! I am very comfortable around my class. That's what I love about Pre-K kids, they are so non-judgemental. Adults seem to be always scrutinizing our every move and comment. The beauty of the little ones lets me be me.
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Another introvert, waving away!
     
  13. 25YearsIn

    25YearsIn Rookie

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    For the record, you (fellow) introverts might get something from reading the Keirsey & Bates book Please Understand Me II, which builds on the work of Myers & Briggs and sets out in very useful terms the notion that introversion / extroversion has less to do with public reticence / shyness or the lack of it than it has to do with how we gain energy. Briefly put, the introvert gains energy from solitary pursuits and loses it in interactive ones; the extrovert needs that interaction to get energy and tends to go dull when not around others. Thus, the former comes home from a party tired and ready for quiet time. The latter is energized and ready to take on the world--or maybe some of the things that have been piling up. (An over-simplification, but I hope it illustrates the difference in temperaments. Reference pages 331-332 , if you care to.) The Keirsey & Bates book helped me understand myself--and explain myself to my extroverted family in terms they could understand. LOL--extroverts truly don't "get" how all that "fun" can truly exhaust an introvert, with the result that many introverts grow up believing they are somehow not quite right. My own family simply cannot fathom how I can now work as a public speaker and yet call myself an introvert. But I'll bet that makes perfect sense to some of you! And yes, I also find one-on-one far more exhausting than speaking to large groups.

    I'll go out on a limb and try to quote you an interesting stat from memory: although introverts make up about 25% of the general population, they comprise about 40% of teachers and 90% of fiction writers.
     
  14. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I wonder what would draw introverts towards teaching, in which you have to be actively involved with people for hours at a stretch. Perhaps it's because we prefer being with children than with adults?

    Maybe I should quit and write some fiction...
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The answer to Bored's questions would be "particular kinds of introverts", would it not, 25YearsIn?
     
  16. 25YearsIn

    25YearsIn Rookie

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    Well, one has to remember that introverted people think deeply about subjects--and persons--that interest them. They are wonderful listeners and have the ability to help others see themselves more clearly as a result of that focused attention. Think Socrates.

    It's also true that just because interaction with others exhausts an introvert, this in no way suggests that the introvert does not, in fact, love the process. Many of us do. In fact, it is the intense interest and enjoyment that can lead to that zapped-battery feeling later. And that means time to recharge, wherein lies the rub for the introverted teacher. The recharge time an introvert needs rarely exists in a teacher's life; introverts tend to burn out as a consequence, IMHO.

    As to having a preference for children over adults. Hmm. I'd say that many of us have a preference for less artifice in human relations, given that we have limited energy for transactions with others. Children are spectacularly real.
     
  17. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I like the way you put it, 25.

    Oh, and by the way -- a little update: (especially for those who participated in my panic about mini model lesson)
    I gave my model lesson yesterday. It must have been pretty good because they offered me the job (I don't consider that so spectacular, though, just good, because there's not a lot of competition for this position...)
    Anyway, from the moment I got started, I just felt so comfortable and poised! I was so surprised! Beforehand, I was a nervous wreck and I didn't feel well enough prepared. I was also nervous about the kids; I wasn't sure what level they were on or anything. But in the end, I actually enjoyed the process of giving the lesson!
     
  18. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Yes.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    They are indeed. Sometimes excruciatingly, when one is down to one's next-to-last nerve.
     
  20. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Rookie

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    The Introvert Advantage

    I loved "The Introvert Advantage," which covers some of the same topics already mentioned. It also differentiates introversion (losing energy from interaction) from shyness (self-consciousness in the face of interaction). This is sometimes a helpful distinction to share with others.

    25YearsIn -- I likewise enjoyed your thoughts on introverts & kids mixing.

    Bored of Ed -- I'm glad your lesson went well! :)
     
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