What do you wish you'd known?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mcerra16, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. mcerra16

    mcerra16 Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2008

    As I am thinking of making this career switch, I thought it may be helpful to have new and experienced teachers list/discuss some things they wish they'd known BEFORE they started teaching.

    From the extra time outside of the classroom, to parent/teacher conferences to the politics of school systems, etc.

    Anything and everything would be great; good and bad! :)
     
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  3. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2008

    I wish I had really known how children behave. The behavior management classes don't explain 1/10 of the children that you will deal with everyday.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I wish I had known about all the extra paperwork you're required to keep up with. That and the best way to organize it all.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2008

    I wish I had known just how much paperwork there is and how much time I'd spend filling it out.

    I also wish I had known that so much of the school environment depends on the support of the administration. Luckily, I think our administration here is very good and supportive, but I've heard horror stories where the admin wasn't.
     
  6. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    *I wish they had taught me how to write what I really mean on report cards without offending parents.

    *I wish that I had been taught how to conduct a "hostile" parent teacher conference.

    *I wish I had been told what to say to a child whose father committed suicide on the ten o'clock news in front of everyone at a mexican food restaurant.

    *I wish that someone would have told me that I would have nights when I went home and cried for children that I couldn't protect.

    *I wish someone had told me that I would develop a silly sense of humor to make it through the tough days.

    *And I wish someone had told me that I should watch out for the chocolate!!!!
     
  7. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Jan 23, 2008

    I wish I had known how SNEAKY kids can be.

    That they will lie to your face to save their butts, even if they are your favorite students.

    That they do some crazy stuff on their own time, and it spills over into the classroom.

    That other teachers can be your best friends or your worst enemies. They will either be your rock, or they will hit you in the head with one.

    To find a great mentor.

    To stay out of office politics.

    To laugh at yourself. A LOT!!!! And that jokes make everything better. As long as they are appropriate!
     
  8. IRAEnglishT-chr

    IRAEnglishT-chr Rookie

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    I wish I had known that when you begin teaching, you don't get told everything you need to know. Sometimes (lots of times) you have to learn as you go--usually when it's too late. And sometimes other teachers are not very generous or helpful either.

    I wish I had been taught that you don't have to grade gazillions of papers to do assessments, and that it's ok to throw away papers students have worked on without even grading them for the sake of giving them extra practice and keeping your own sanity.

    I wish I had been told that I wouldn't get to use many of the creative projects I did in college because all that really matters to the powers that be is that I have the right posters hanging in the right place, that I follow my schedule explicitly when the county assessment team visits, and that I can keep a straight face when my principal says words that don't even exist in the English language.

    I wish I had known how many different things (unrelated to teaching) I'd be responsible for- checking heads for lice, taking temperatures, applying bandages, discussing feminine products with eleven year olds, duct taping windows in the event of an environmental hazard, collecting box tops and popcorn money, etc.

    I wish I had known that our county was getting ready to say that we cannot give out supply lists, but must provide everything that is needed at school (free and equal education). I might have stockpiled paper, dry erase markers, and erasers then instead of spending so much of my pay on these things...
     
  9. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    the only thing relating to the kids is that whoever said there is no such thing as a stupid question obviously wasn't a teacher.

    Every other issue I have with teaching is the office politics and I think its probably true in every job. All the paperwork which is often unnecessary...
     
  10. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    I wish that I was taught how to really teach instead of a bunch of philosophies written by people who haven't seen the inside of a classroom.

    I wish I was taught how to better handle crazy parents who insist a 99% isn't good enough.

    But most of all, I wish someone had told me that I can't always be a hero and protect every child.
     
  11. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2008

    I wish I knew how much of special education was politics and paperwork that barely benefits the students.

    I wish I knew how apathetic and lazy some students can be regardless of your passion, creative lesson planning, or concern for their well-being.
     
  12. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I wish I had know how much you end up loving them, one and all. Also, how most of the people you work with in schools are some of the best people you will ever meet. I would have been a lot less uncertain during my program if I'd known that. :)
     
  13. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I also wished that someone would have told me that the highlight of my day would be the little things--a kind. opening his own milk, a child reading a list of sight words and not missing any, a teacher coming and telling you your children were sharing their science lesson in bus line.
     
  14. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    Jan 23, 2008



    Amen!! And two:up:
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I wish I had known that it is ok for me to be confident and #1 in charge of my classroom, my students, my methods, my rules. I got chewed up a few times by parents, an occasional staff person, before I became strong enough to stand up and say, "In my classroom, that is how it is."

    I wish I had known that for me, it is necessary to verbally practice what I might say to difficult parents or in difficult situations. I wish I had known the particular lines that calm down an angry parent or an upset child.

    A lot of stuff you just have to learn through experience!
     
  16. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    I wish I had learned how to have the difficult conversations... and how many I would have!

    I wish I had known that a hershey's kiss can change someone's day for the better. Can you believe it took me almost 10 years before I started keeping chocolate on my desk... and as soon as I did, more people stopped by to chat. :)
     
  17. mcerra16

    mcerra16 Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2008

    Thanks everyone! These are great...keep 'em coming.

    And to those that discussed office politics, believe me, it has been in every job I have worked at and wouldn't expect it to change at a school. ;)

    And this, "that I can keep a straight face when my principal says words that don't even exist in the English language" cracked me up! :lol:
     
  18. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2008

    OMG!!! You are so right on that one! I had always pictured "special ed" as being the kids with mental retardation or down's syndrome - but then I then I taught my first 11th grade CHEMISTRY CLASS and had 7 of my 30 kiddos labeled inclusion. I had to modify chemistry??? to a 3rd grade level for one - which is IMPOSSIBLE!!!
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I wish that I knew more about making $$$ as I make only enough to live on as a teacher. Like knowing that Walmart and Google stock was the right one to buy early on.
     
  20. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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  21. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    Being a recent college graduate and first year teacher I wish I knew...

    *about all the paperwork.
    *more about classroom management in the beginning. My college didn't prepare me very well.
    *more about different programs used in schools. Again, my college didn't prepare me.
    *the drama that can go on in schools with staff and how to handle it.
     
  22. IRAEnglishT-chr

    IRAEnglishT-chr Rookie

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    I almost forgot-- I wish I had known how to speak educationese...IEPs, CSO's, IGOS, AR, STAR, DIBELS, PM Benchmarks, Compass, etc. etc. etc. Ugh.
     
  23. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    I wish I had known how much time was going to get eaten up by the million and one "piddly" things that take up my day -- besides teaching!!

    I wish I had known that it's better to beg forgiveness instead of asking permission sometimes!!:whistle:
     
  24. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I wish I had known how lonely it can be -- to be the only adult in a sea of young children.

    Teachers tend to do their jobs in relative isolation. You have to reach out to others, even when they don't bother to reach out to you.
     
  25. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Nobody really understands the pressures and the workload like a fellow teacher. Your husband may sympathize, but sometimes all you want to do is talk "teaching", and they just don't get it.
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    A top ten there.
     
  27. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Being a high school teacher, I wish I had known

    *that I will have students that don't care about their future
    *that I will have students working to just get by and not to their potential
    *that students don't understand there are consquesences to dangerous behavior
    *that I will see parents that really don't care about their children and the fact that I will care more than they do

    about teaching
    *how difficult managing IEP's and accommendations can be
    *being taking out of my class room to be on School Improvement committees, conferences, scheduling commit., etc.... I hate being out of my class room
    *how hard working with other teachers can be
    *paper work - documentation
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Wow, at least you see parents who don't care...mine just don't care enough to even show up.
     
  29. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    I wish I had known:

    - that I'd work many more hours here than I did in a corporate job- not just at home either- I physically work more hours in the school building and then still do more at home than I ever did in my corporate job. I just thought I was a workaholic before!

    - that I wouldn't have planning periods off with my grade level peers and we have to follow a group curriculum so all planning is done after school hours.

    - that I'd be expected to fill out mountains of special ed referral paperwork that I am completely unqualified and untrained to complete. There is no way for the SpEd department to move forward with what they need to do without general ed teacher feedback on these forms. So why didn't certification programs train me to help them with this if I was going to have 15 inclusion kids in a class???

    - that parents can be so crazy/uninvolved or wonderful/supportive.

    - that the kids would make me laugh as much as they do.

    - that I'd be so heartbroken over the slackers and unreachable ones.

    - that copying papers onto 3-hold punched paper in the first place to avoid a throng of kids at the hole puncher is genius.


    :D
     
  30. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Check your copy machine at school. Some machines will do the hole punching for you while making the copies.
     
  31. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 25, 2008

    Well, I am not quite a regular classroom teacher yet, but I am the language arts tutor, and one thing that I am learning is that teaching is exhausting! There is so much moving around and tending to situations, problems, disruptions, meetings, etc. This is probably the most exhausting thing that I have ever done. At school, you must be "on" the entire time. You are making decisions every second of the day, and once you decide to do something (or atleast once you have informed your student/students, especially when it comes to disciplinary issues), you can't really change your mind. For example, if you threaten to give someone lunch detention if they do something, you had better follow through, or else you won't be taken serious. I never realized before just how exhausting teaching could be...
     

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