Not coming naturally....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mardi08, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. mardi08

    mardi08 Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2009

    Hi all,

    I have my first teaching job. I'm teaching for the summer; however, I feel that I'm not a natural at this. Other teachers come up with activities, lessons, and ideas right from the top of their head. I struggle trying to think of simple activities. I also can't seem to just "talk" to the class.....Is this meant for me???? I'm not a spring chicken! I have to stick with this profession now that I have over $40K in student loans and a family. Please tell me that it's just all by experience! I have the passion and the desire to teach....

    mardi:help:
     
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  3. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    Jul 14, 2009

    Have you tried searching the internet for lesson plans and activities. I found some great ideas when I had "writers block" during my ACP program. Go to your local teacher supply...maybe just seeing all the cool games and supplies will help inspire you.
     
  4. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I've been teaching for 10 years and still look online to find ideas for lessons all the time. It may come off the top of their heads simply because they've done the lessons before. You start to develop a "bag of tricks" for games, songs and things after awhile.

    Are you teaching the grade for summer school that you will have in the fall? Sometimes I struggle in summer school simply because it's a different age group and I have to readjust. When you say you can't "talk" to the class - do you mean standing in front of them lecturing? It takes time for some people to build up confidence - remember they are just kids- they wouldn't care if you tap dance, fall down, do magic tricks, they are a pretty non-judgemental audience.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Everyone has their skills and weaknesses. I can also think of a lesson plan on the spot. But, I am not as good at delivery as some other teachers. I best job is when I am paired with someone who delivers well, and lets me write the lesson plan. Sometimes it comes with experience. Watch, listen, and learn. After more experience, it will come easier.
     
  6. Lionteacher

    Lionteacher Companion

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    I have found the Internet and other teachers to be very useful in my teaching. Part of teaching is learning from others and using their ideas.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think for some it does come naturally, but for the others of us, we have to work just a bit harder. I think once you start teaching it will come easier. I've found alot of my lessons on the internet and through talking with other teachers.
     
  8. LuvKinder

    LuvKinder Rookie

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    As long as you have the passion and want to be a great teacher, you will be. Use your resources: grade level partners, literacy specialist, math specialists. During my first year teaching I used my resources like crazy and it helped a lot. My principal even noticed it and applauded it. No one expects you to do this on your own, and before you know it your collegues will be coming to you for lessons! Its a good feeling! Good Luck
     
  9. mardi08

    mardi08 Rookie

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    Thanks all. You hit me right on! It's my delivery that sucks! I sound like a robot and it sounds so scripted. Sometimes, I think it's when another adult is in the room that hinders me. I guess I'm always worried about what they think and not about if the kids are learning. These kids are all new to me as well and it is a different grade level. I've been in primary (K and First) for the past 3 years! I really want to be a teacher, a great teacher at that. Like I said before, I'm also not young, I'll need to retire from teaching.

    Any other feedback?
    Thanks!!!!
     
  10. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jul 14, 2009

    is anyone really a natural?????
    I mean yes you can be a natural when dealing with kids, but as far as lesson planning and such. That requires experience. Everyday you are honing your skills at improvising lessons, extending lessons, etc.

    You shouldn't feel great at this right now. You are new. Take it as a learning experience. Savor each moment and know that you are still learning. I have taught 5 years and feel like I am still at the beginning (although I am MUCH better than I was 5 years ago - heck I'm better than I was a year ago - and I dang better be better at this a year from now). I continue to learn and grow as a teacher. When you stop you need to get out of the profession.

    I understand that this is a scary time for you and starting in the summer probably doesn't help matters. But trust the process.

    Good luck
     
  11. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I have been teaching for 15 years; nine years in the same position, and I still get tongue tied when there's an adult in the room. Any adult - the principal, parents, other teachers, even when my sister was visiting, I got nervous.

    When I started teaching, I was awful. It took me
    a long time to loosen up in front of my students. Now I do some things that my best friends would never believe! Last year, I nearly killed myself hopping around like a lemur!!! I got my point across, though!

    Keep trying; it gets easier (except with adults in the room!).
     
  12. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    lionteacher, EXACTLY!!!
    My very best ideas once belonged to someone else. Teachers become masters at taking others ideas and work and tweaking it to fit our classrooms!
     
  13. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Observation

    I would suggest that you try and observe a couple of teachers that you might feel comfortable with. I've taught 13 years and wish that I had opportunities to observe more.

    Also, what about the connection between your kids? I know that I need to get to know my kids before I feel completely comfortable with them. I don't mean "laid back" in discipline, but comfortable that I don't have to sound like a robot. They know I am human and make mistakes, have good days and bad days, and want to be accepted just like them.

    Relax, it will come to you.

    I have to speak in front of all of our staff occasionally and I get nervous, but you put me in front of a group of kids (elementary) and I can do it.
     
  14. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I also hate being observed and I have a student teacher coming in the fall. Ugh. I guess I have to bite the bullet and just get over my nerves since she'll be more nervous than me.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    It will get better! My mentor teacher literally had me write out my lessons word by word! Like a speech. I hated it at the time, but she really blessed me. After giving a few lessons with speech notes in hand, I got more confident.

    This might sound weird, but I like to take pictures of teachers' lessons and activities ideas while kids are working on them, and the finished product. I also like to take pictures of bulleting boards that other teachers use. I figure this way I have a whole book full of photos of lesson ideas I can use sometime. Most teachers are flattered if you ask for details of their lessons. Just don't take their ideas and use them if you are teaching 3rd and they are teaching 4th!
     
  16. PreKyay

    PreKyay Companion

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    Everyone has their own niche-- even teachers. And your's is obviously a strong desire to learn and better yourself, or you woudn't be seeking advice. Take comfort in that fact, keep learning, keep at it, and keep teaching! You will be great. The kids are very blessed to have such a conscientious teacher!
     
  17. PreKyay

    PreKyay Companion

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    bonneb-- taking pictures doesn't sound wierd at all! You are just a visual learner, obviously. I think it's a great idea; in fact I think I'll adopt that practice, if you don't mind!;)
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My principal learned that if she stands at my door and looks through the glass, she gets a much better picture of my teaching than if she walks in. Once she walks in, I almost pause and introduce her. I get distracted with another person in the room. If you work on building a rapport with the students, the rest comes (as far as being able to talk to them). Also, you may not be a lecture/speaker type of teacher. I'm not. I do MUCH better when I have an activity that goes with it or even before it. I have to get in the mode for the lesson. I simply can't remember everything I plan to say. If I have visuals, activities, demonstrations, etc, then the lesson becomes my speech instead of the other way around.
     
  19. natelukesmom

    natelukesmom Companion

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    When I think back to my first year teaching I still laugh at how much I thought I knew, but really didn't. I think a lot of effective teaching comes with experience.
    Also, as far as delivery goes, some people are just naturally better at it than others, but that doesn't mean you can work toward being as good as any other teacher. Think of it this way, just because someone is "naturally" better at playing piano doesn't mean you can be just as good if you practice - it just might take you more time and hard work.
    I'm sure you'll do just fine. :) Just enjoy each day and don't "over think" it. :) Good Luck!
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Struggling a bit will make you a better teacher!! Kinda strange, but true.

    That kid who struggles with a concept that seems to come easily to others-- you'll have an amazing new understanding of his struggles, in a way that some of those other teachers simply can't fathom.

    Remember: you were hired in a brutal job market because people who have been doing this forever KNOW you can do it. So have a little faith in their judgement, and relax. It will come to you, you may just have to work at it a bit harder than the teacher in the next room. That's OK-- this isn't a race. And the payoff will be incredible.
     
  21. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Plus, as a new teacher, you are having to learn the material yourself, learn the way you want to present it, learn what activities will reinforce the lesson. That is a lot of work each day. My first year teaching I worked every weekend! It is a lot of prep. Just focus on getting to know the kids and that will also give you insight to their learning styles, which will help you understand the "how" of presenting the lectures.
     
  22. mardi08

    mardi08 Rookie

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    That's why I love this board. Everyone is very positive and always pulls me back (even if it is not my post, but someone will always have the same questions).

    Bonneb - I love the picture taking idea. I will try to do that as well. I, too, am a visual learner.

    Keep the ideas and thoughts or comments coming!!!!!
     
  23. MrsCSoup

    MrsCSoup Rookie

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    Mardi,
    You are not alone! I also feel inadequate when it comes to thinking up cool lesson plans on the spot. But, you know, when I mention this to other teachers who I think "have it", they feel the same way. I know that I will never be "the perfect teacher". But, I do know that I love my kiddos and I love being a part of their learning experience.

    Just keep your eyes and ears open for new ideas. Take those ideas and tweak them to make them your own. Good Luck!
     
  24. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    There is one other important thing: don't compare yourself to other teachers.

    The k and 2nd gr teachers at my school do a lot of extra things, cool things, and creative things with their children. I realized immediately that I was not that kind of teacher. I think of myself as "meat and potatoes." I do try to add in fun activities and I think of a lot of them myself, but I do not compete with the other teachers or compare myself to them.

    I feel my strength is loving the students, and accepting them individually, and helping each one make progress. We have a lot of fun in my classroom, as I am spontaneous and get my best ideas on the spot sometimes. But it took a lot of pressure off me when I determined not to compare myself to other teachers, but to find my strength and let the kids benefit from that.

    Hope this helps! You are possibly doing a great job, just not doing it in the way you have seen others do it. Get to know your kids and things will come more naturally.
     

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