Reflections of a First Year Teacher

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My #1 teaching tool.

Last night, my Prep Year students finished their end of the year performance (and rocked it!), which means that other than a little bit of grading, my first year as a teacher is over. It’s been a crazy first year.  I think anyone who teaches will tell you that the first year is crazy.  Make that double if your first teaching gig is in a foreign country with a completely different culture.  So much of it feels like a giant blur.  There have been ups, downs, and in-betweens, but mostly, a whole lot of learning.  Here’s just a small list of the lessons I’ve learned:

-They won’t always remember small assignments, but they WILL remember big ideas

Be flexible.  Sometimes you have to scrap the lesson you planned in the first five minutes because it just wasn’t the right lesson plan for that group/day/time/place.

Challenge them, even when they complain about it.  They will thank you for it later.

Lean on your colleagues (and let them lean on you).  Support is everything. 

Don’t assign anything that isn’t meaningful.  Also, don’t assign anything for which you can’t provide effective feedback.

Be creative and have fun.  As much as possible, teach what you’re passionate about.  If you’re not having fun, neither will they.

Never stop learning.  There is always more to do, more to know, and more room to be better.  Keep the ball rolling…forever.  

Be prepared to have your heart break a little when you say goodbye to a class, even though you know they are moving on to bigger and better things.  You can never fully prepare yourself for how much you will love your students.  

It has been a fabulous year and I have grown so much – not only as a teacher, but as a person.  Honestly, being a teacher has made me a better person.  I can’t wait for next year; there will be new ideas, more life lessons, and best of all, new students!

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