Sunday, 4 September 2016

Teachers: 3 Powerful Lessons That You Learn From Teaching

Teachers, I know that sometimes people who do not work in the education system make you feel unappreciated after you put so much time and effort into helping your students learn as much as they can from their schooling, while you, in turn, learn much from the experience, developing your skills set. As a teacher with more than 25 years in the classroom, I understand exactly how you feel.
Dr. Paul Semendinger, an educator, understands the need that teachers have to be appreciated and he shares this understanding in an article on Edutopia titled, What makes a teacher special? 

Dr. Semendinger in a previous role as principal of a school asked students and other stakeholders of his school to nominate a teacher for the award of teacher of the week, citing a reason for nominating the teacher. The students' responses clearly show the central place that teachers have in their lives.

Here are some of the reasons the students gave for nominating a teacher: the teacher is 'kind and helpful'; the teacher is 'a good teacher'; the teacher encourages them; the teacher respects them; the teacher is patient with them and the teacher involves them in class activities.
Dr. Semendinger concludes his article by saying that if you want answers to the question that he has posed, you should ask a child. This is good advice, as students interact with you daily and have opinions about the quality of this interaction.

pixabay.com
Andrew Simmons, another educator, voices some of the benefits and pitfalls of being a teacher in an article titled, 7 things I wish people understood about being a teacher. In this article on vox.com, which I can't do full justice to in this space, Simmons provides "critics" with the following insights from his reflections on his career to date.
He tells us that teaching has positively influenced him by making him "smarter" and "a better person"; that "teachers act like teenagers" and not in a good way; that the summer break is not a real break for teachers because they spend much of their summer preparing for the new school year; that the “cult of the superteacher” needs to be abolished - that is, the teacher being burdened or burdening himself with too much work which does not lead to effectiveness, and he tells us that administrators need to be smart in implementing government policy (Common Core) as not to put pressure on teachers and demotivate them.

Dr. Paul Semendinger and Andrew Simmons share powerful lessons with you in their articles. Here are 3 of these lessons:
  • Students are teachers – they have much to teach you about yourself and your practice. Learn the lessons that they teach!

  • Reflecting makes sense – When you reflect on your job – what it is, what you are doing and how you are doing it – you'll find many nuggets of wisdom to help you to keep on improving your practice, thus being able to meet the learning needs of your students and gain continued satisfaction from the job.

  •  You are appreciated – If you stress about all the negative comments leveled at you as a teacher, teachers generally and the teaching profession as a whole, you are setting yourself up to becoming ill, unhappy and ineffective at your job. Students come to school with a number of needs of which you are oftentimes unaware, but when you make them feel good by treating them well, they treasure your positive actions toward them, and they also treasure you.


Starting today, you need to begin to look at the big picture – the environment, locally nationally and internationally, in which you work – and reflect on your practice with the aim of celebrating the good and resolving to take steps to improve, to the best of your ability and within the constraints under which you work, your efforts to continue to meet the learning needs of your students, in spite of the negative talk about you and your profession that you hear.

I am a veteran educator and have authored two books, Investing in our success: A glimpse into our world and The Teacher's Gift in which I explored the search for success and teaching respectively. 

I love learning and have been auditing courses on the Coursera online Platform. If you are interested in learning about Social Media, I highly recommend the Social Media Marketing Specialization offered by Northwestern University and delivered by Professor Randy Hlavac.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JanetteBFuller


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