Not smart enough to be a teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by want2t, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. want2t

    want2t Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2009

    Sometimes I really tend to doubt myself. I graduated high school 8 years ago. Grade wise, I had a hard time in elementary school, but did much better in high school. As of now, I have a very good GPA, but I have a very hard time remembering the stuff I learn.I feel like I should know more about...well everything. I always compare myself to my husband, who is a big nerd! :) To top it all off, I sometimes have a difficult time pronouncing some words (a problem I have always had).

    I believe some of it has to do with being a stay-at-home mom. I love it, but my brain feels so mushy! So, my question for you....did you or do you ever feel like this? How much prep do you have to do for the lessons you teach (especially during your first year)? I feel like I would have to spend so much time reviewing some of the concepts that I would teach.

    I'm tired of not believing in myself...but it is hard when the only person who does is a 3-year-old!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2009

    Teachers should be intelligent, educated people. If you feel that you do not fit this criteria,maybe you need a little 'brushing up'. You might find ''school" more manageable and be more successful the second time around. As a stay-at-home mom-think about it, don't you want someone who 'knows their stuff' teaching YOUR children? Expect no less of yourself.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 13, 2009

    If you think that being a SAHM is turning your brain to mush, DO something about it.

    Do volunteer work; you'll talk to people of differing backgrounds and widen your horizon.

    Read the paper every single day, and do the crossword. You'l be surprised at how it gets you thinking.

    Join, or start, a book club.

    Take a class at the local community college. Or adult ed in your local district.

    Write a paper-- not for anyone but youself if necessary-- on something you would be working with in the classroom.

    Do freelance writing; I did a LOT during the years I was a SAHM.

    Tutor. It will keep your skills sharp.

    We talk so much to the kids about being lifelong learners; this is your opportunity to show that 3 year old that you practice what you preach.
     
  5. MistsOfSpring

    MistsOfSpring Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2009

    I believe in being upfront about your imperfections with students. If you have difficulty pronouncing things, tell them that you have that difficulty and let them see you making an effort to learn it. If you don't know something, tell them you don't know and that you're willing to help them find the answer together. I think modelling the behaviour of an imperfect person who tries to improve is far more important than knowing all the answers.
     
  6. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Dec 13, 2009

    I have ADHD and a learning disability. I actually think it makes me a better teacher. I know I have difficulties pronouncing things, so I work on it. I told my students about how I struggled in school and my students actually improved! I had a parent tell me that her son told her "Ms. X has ADHD just like me, so I can go to college just like her."

    You can be a teacher! Don't doubt yourself!
     
  7. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I will say that I am an excellent student, and just finished my teaching degree. I had to study a lot for the "content" subjects (stuff like Science and Social Studies, as opposed to teaching methodology) and did well on the tests, but now I have forgotten much of it already. My brain just doesn't retain stuff very well unless I actually use it.

    But, the fact that it will still be relatively fresh (more so than if I had to remember way back to my own school days when I learned it the first time around) means that if/when I have to teach it, it will be easier to remember when I go over it before teaching. Yes, you do have to go over it for yourself, because students may well ask stuff above and beyond what's in the textbook.

    So, don't feel like you have to be a walking encyclopedia, just that you have a good foundation lurking in the background and can activate it when needed by brushing up.

    Having kids also helps me, because they are always asking questions and if I don't remember, we look up the answers together.

    I agree that it's good to model strategies of finding out information (especially don't ever wing it when you aren't really sure)-- say, "Great question! Let's see how we can find the answer!"

    If you do decide to go into teaching, you will probably have to study content again and be tested on it before you can start teaching, so you will have another chance to "re-learn" what you need.

    Good luck!
     
  8. I Am The Future

    I Am The Future Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I agree with this person entirely!!

    I myself am going to be an English teacher. However, I am horrible about spelling and grammars errors (which I'm sure will HOPEFULLY improve as I finish my degree :) ) so what I plan on doing [at least my first year] is at the beginning of the year, I will tell my students upfront that I have these problems. I will explain to them that *I* want to learn more just as much as I HOPE they do, lol. So, everytime someone corrects me, I will have positive reinforcement. Maybe a piece of candy, maybe an extra point on a test, or something of that nature. This will allow ME to learn, as well as my students, AND give them a reason to pay attention to me in class.

    Use your imperfections to your advantage!

    And I kind of understand what you mean. I'm in the middle of getting my degree and did an external learning project with a local high school. These kids were talking about parts of speech that I had completely forgotten about, and I could not have felt more stupid. But you just have to remind yourself that every year, you will learn your material even better, and that mistakes are just more learning oppurtunities for the students.
     
  9. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I think the info is just stale since you've been away from learning higher education. If you persist, in time, this issue will disppear.
     
  10. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Tis is what I did when I wnated to explain what a "cliff" is. Instead of saying , "a steep incline". I thought that I should tell them the way it is written in a dictionary. So I told them that instead of explain to them in my words, let's look the definition in an online dictionary and I went to www.m-w.com. Frankly, I didn't the dictionary is kept in the classroom and so I just used the online source. Some night prefer hard copy dictionary.
     
  11. miss tree

    miss tree Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I also have trouble retaining information and have to spend a lot of time reviewing material for lessons. It does get easier though. Once you have taught concepts a couple of times it begins to become like second nature, and reusing lesson plans helps a lot.

    I've found that if I quickly read over my lesson plans in the morning it helps me to remember what I have to - at least till the end of the day! I'm amazed that some teachers don't seem to have written lesson plans for each class because I'd be lost without them.

    Hang in there. If teaching is what you really want to do you will find a way to overcome any shortcomings you feel you have.
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Teaching is hard work and a stressful job but your high school career and even your current career (as a stay-at-home mom) are not your most valid indicators. You also can't compare yourself to your husband. What age range are you wanting to teach?

    Personally, I did MUCH MUCH better the second time around in college than I did the first time. This was after I stayed at home with my children for 6 years. I was a better student. I worked harder. I was more dedicated to learning. This made all the difference. Did I retain all of that? Of course not! I retain some of it and mostly I retain what I've self-reflected on frequently, seen frequently or used frequently.

    As far as studying as a teacher...you will have to do this at every age level. Even at the younger level there is much to study on how to use the resources and materials you are expected to use, learning newer or researched based techniques, keeping up on the developmental process of the age group you are teaching particularly when they switch grades on you, learning better ways of approaching intervention or differentiation, and how to include a student with a disability you may never have heard of before. There is a lot of studying always and it does get easier but you never stop learning or studying. :)

    You can have a book smart person who can't teach worth a darn or a have an ounce of common sense. There are many levels of intelligences and it takes more than one to be a good teacher.

    Smart people figure out what coping strategies they need and how to work with what they have. Every person has their weaknesses they have to work around. EVERYONE.
     
  13. I Am The Future

    I Am The Future Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    :agreed:
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Dec 14, 2009

    To show the other side of it, I always would get annoyed with teachers who didn't know as much as i did about the things we were learning. This first happened to me in fourth grade. I had a hard time respecting that teacher because she made so many spelling errors and factual errors and couldn't answer my questions. I'm not super gifted, or anything, but several of my friends have expressed this same annoyance.
     
  15. I Am The Future

    I Am The Future Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I can completely understand that, as I've had teachers that were the same way. Usually, though (for me anyway), the teachers that BOTHERED me were the ones that ACTED like they were superior and knew everything and didn't want to admit that they were wrong, even though it was very obvious that they didn't. I can think of one lesson that has stuck out to me even now, where a teacher was trying to convince me that strawberry was a compound word but that blueberry was not. The book said she was wrong, the WHOLE CLASS said she was wrong, but she REFUSED to back down or else show us that she is a human being and makes silly mistakes. I lost all respect for her after that.

    I'm not saying it's the same for everyone, but I really do find that I don't mind teachers being wrong as long as they can admit it without getting hostile with the students and make a learning experiance out of it. The key is to be able to say to a group of kids, "I was wrong."
     
  16. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Yes, but a teacher should not have to say "I was wrong" multiple times per day. Teachers should have some level of competence with the material they are teaching, otherwise they should be in the desks with the students. "Teacher" implies that you both know the material and that you know how to lead others to know it as well.
     
  17. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Dec 14, 2009

    I think that part of being a good teacher is recognizing that you will always be a student also. No one "knows it all" and teachers are not expected to know it all. But she is expected to learn about it if she doesn't know it. Modeling how to find out the correct information for the students is an important strategy. A good teacher never passes up the opportunity to learn more...
     
  18. I Am The Future

    I Am The Future Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Well of course! If I'm having to ask my student's ten times a day if I'm right or not, then I would lose all respect from them as a competent teacher. You need to know your subject, I was just saying that making a couple of mistakes here and there are good chances to let the students see that you are human, you do make mistakes, and give them a chance to feel like they've taught YOU something.

    And then what I would recommend for the original worried poster, is you start off letting the students know that you are okay with making mistakes, but if you realize you're giving out more than a couple points, candy, etc, a class period, take that as a sign that you need to review the material for future classes a little more thoroughly. I, personally, just feel like no matter how many or few mistakes you make, you're going to keep more respect and cooperation from your students if you admit that you are wrong instead of turning on the defense if a student corrects you.

    I really don't think it will be as bad as you think, or that you'll have to go through any more than any other novice teacher. I know that even though I will be fresh out of college when I (hopefully!) start my first job, I'll probably STILL spend the entire summer reviewing what I'm going to be teaching my kids, and will review before every class. While I retain things fairly well, I need that spark or clue to remind me of WHAT I need to be pulling out of my head. It seems like a lot of work, but if you really want to be a teacher, being the best at what you do should be number one priority and what gives you the most pleasure (IMO :D ).
     
  19. want2t

    want2t Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Wow...thank you all for your responses! You all brought up so many good points. I have wanted to teach for a long time. I remember playing class with my friends and I always wanted to be the teacher. Now that I am older, I realize my problems now. Lately, I have also been so surprised to find out how much I don't know. Maybe it is because I am now trying to pay more attention and have the "want" to learn.

    You have all been such a great help! :)
     
  20. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    Dec 19, 2009

    Have not read all of the responses so I may be repeating someone (sorry if i am)

    I think teachers that have trouble learning often make better teachers. They understand the difficulties that students are having and are able to help them through. Teahers who dont understand the problems students are having, can have trouble helping them past it.

    Remember, teachers are people to, and noone is perfect.
     
  21. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Dec 28, 2009

    As a sub, I actually many teachers with the same problems. Often times, I'll be in a class, or observing a teacher or something, and they make a totally incorrect comment (which I do not correct in front of the students).

    ...and I do question "how it's possible to not know that?"

    I don't think it means you can't be an effective teacher. Just like I don't think that, even though you need to communicate orally all the time as a teacher, that you need to be an exceptional public speaker.

    It is something that you probably should try and get better at though (and I agree with Aliceacc; exposing yourself to many other facets of life besides motherhood/"family life" probably would help a lot.)
     
  22. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 30, 2009

    want2t, I can understand your feelings. Although a teacher doesn't have to be a genius or anything, of course I believe that one needs to have some better than average knowledge than the average person out there.

    Another point I want to bring up is that a person can be very smart overall, but a teacher must know HOW to teach & explain that knowledge for others to understand.

    What grade do you plan to teach? I personally don't like history that much, so I wouldn't feel comfortable teaching history to kids at the 5th or 6th grade & up level.
     
  23. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Dec 30, 2009

    Two things came to mind as I read your post. 1, if you are feeling "mush brain," take a college class right away! I did that last winter and it kicked my butt out of my rut!! It was amazing. A new challenge, which I met! That is a real confidence booster!

    2, purchase a talking dictionary! Franklin makes a great one and you should have it in your pocket at all times! It will help you pronounce words and you will learn at the same time.

    I've known all kinds of different teachers, from highly intelligent to bumbling along. The common denominator is they love kids, love learning, and are willing to work hard. Stop comparing yourself to anyone and take a couple steps to boost your confidence - read the paper, always be reading a book of some kind, take a class. By the way, you are right now doing the hardest job on earth which says a lot about you! you just need to gain some confidence after being out of the education world for a bit.
     
  24. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Dec 31, 2009

    You could be an awesome teacher if you're heart is in it. Go for it!
     
  25. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I'm a firm believer in that we teach ourself to remember and we teach ourselves to forget.

    There's a lot of I.Q. tests on the Internet, practice taking them, read, read something that you need to have a dictionary at your side. Look up the words.

    Read about mnemonic devices on how to remember.

    Having a geeky husband may make you feel inferior but don't let that get you down. I formerlly worked for an orthopedic surgeon, he had to study at night before he did hip replacement! :(
     

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