1. Teachers spend a lot of time preparing for class. There are lesson plans which can take several hours to put together. This is due to needing to get the materials together for each lesson. Do you need worksheets or transparencies, will you be using thinking maps, and are there books that you plan to read to the students that compliment your lesson? Getting this together can take a great deal of time. In fact it’s almost like having two jobs. One is preparing and the other one is you teach. Then when you add on to that all the faculty meetings, the continuing education teachers are required to have, and teacher parent conferences, there are barely enough hours in the day to get it all done, let alone spend time with your family. No wonder teachers’ need summers off, they need the time to recuperate from the year.
2. Teachers are also performers. You have to keep an audience of 25 six to seven years olds attention on you so you can deliver the lesson. Under ideal conditions that can be difficult but add to that the students who have to go the bathroom or they are going to die, or the students that are starving and need to know when lunch is, to the students who decide right in the middle of a lesson that a drink of water sounds like a fine idea and just gets up and walks over to the water fountain. Some times I feel like a little kid is saying, “look at me, look at me!”
3. It is possible to get a child to behave with out saying a word. I am mastering the glare. So far if I can catch the eye of the misbehaver and give them the look I have been pretty successful in getting the behavior to stop.
4. It is best to stock up on Band-Aids. If a child comes up to request a band-aid it is often best to give them one even if you can’t actually see the wound that is causing them such excruciating pain. I have also found that if one child is seen getting a band-aid suddenly other children find their own injures that also need band-aids. In just the first two weeks of school I have already bandaged more children then I can remember.
5. You need to have incredible bladder control. You can let a student use the restroom if they need to, but you can not leave the classroom to take care of your own needs and leave the children unattended. Can you imagine the chaos if you told them to work on the lesson and you will be right back? Desks would be overturned, children may be hanging from the lights, paper wads flying; no it would not be a pretty site. Instead you have to hold it as long as you can or call down for an aid to come and watch your class for a few minutes. You could restrict liquids but in Arizona that is not really a good idea. Right now its not a problem because my cooperating teacher and I can take turns so one of us is always in the classroom. What I’ll do when I get my own classroom is any ones guess considering I am the one no one wants to go on a road trip with because of my habit of stopping at just about every rest stop along the way.
6. Spending the day with kids can be a lot of fun. Children have a unique way of looking at the world and teachers have such a wonderful opportunity to see the world through their eyes.
7. Getting a hug from your students at the end of the day makes you feel recharged when you feel like you have been ridden hard and put away wet.
8. Half days are not really half days. The kids get to go home early, but teachers keep working until the end of a regular school day.
9. Teachers really need the support of parents. It would be nice to have parents come in and volunteer, and not just for parties, but any time. Teachers can always use an extra set of hands in the classroom. Teachers need to know that you back them up when they need to discipline your child and that you are aware of the homework they are doing.
10. Teachers should be proud of what they do. They work hard under conditions that are rarely ideal in order to prepare the next generation to lead the world. It is a hard job but a very important profession and one I am eager to join.