When you first embark on the journey to becoming a teacher there are lots of things you learn. You go to school/college and they teach you everything you need to know about being a teacher…well not everything. There are just a few points they forgot to mention. So here are 5 things that I didn’t know when I started teaching…
Your name will be the most popular name in the room.
On average, I would say that I hear my name being shouted (in various degrees of urgency) about 50 times a day. Sometimes from the other side of the room, and often right next to my ear – because you know, I’m old, right?
My name is spoken with different tones from a whisper right up to a yell, and most annoyingly of all – the whine. As much as I love the little kiddos, they really do know how to ‘wear it out’.
You are a nurse, a counsellor, a musician and a general all-rounder.
You will see vomit, poo and most especially large puddles of pee that spread out and cause alarmed panicky squeals from surrounding observers.
Nosebleeds are another frequent visitor, and you will have to deal with all of these situations as and when they arrive. As someone who can be slightly squeamish, I only have one piece of advice – DO NOT BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE.
After cleaning up and sorting out your students, you will be expected to provide full-time entertainment, cue the musicianship. We are Jack of All Trades, no question about it!
Patience isn’t a virtue – it’s an aspiration.
I always knew I would need to develop a large amount of patience when dealing with kids. Obviously. They are young, they need care, they need support. But sometimes, oooooh sometimes, they can really test your patience.
You should watch yourself in those moments and take a deep breath. Counting to 5 ain’t just for the kids – you better be doing it for yourself too! Patience is something I aspire to every day, and when I reach that yogi stage of calmness, I will let you know how I got there. For now, keep on trekking!
At some point, you will develop ‘the look’.
The look. The glare. The ‘sit down this instant’ eyes. The ‘what on earth do you think you’re doing?’ expression. Whatever you call it, it’s something that develops pretty quickly.
You soon realise that sometimes a steely look is all that’s needed to help telepathize your disappoint in the current turn of events. Not all kids get it immediately – there’s normally a whispered message passed hurriedly by those who are faster on the uptake. It works.
Never underestimate the value of being first in line.
If there’s a currency in my classroom, it’s the valued position of ‘who’s number 1’. Being first in line means a great deal. I can’t figure out why. We’re going to the washroom…is being first really going to change your life that much?
I guess at some point, we must have all been there – but I can’t for the life of me think why. It’s best not to speculate, and remember: it can always be used as reward tactic!
So those are 5 things that I didn’t know when I started teaching. They are all things that we teachers pick up super quickly. Survival tactics are what we thrive on. And you know what? We get pretty darn durable along the way!