” I made it to Christmas” !!
This is a phrase that I have stated numerous times over the last week as a first year teacher in the UK. I have been teaching in a school in with very challenging students, and a tough curriculum to learn. I have been an active member on the “struggle bus”, most times driving it, or being dragged by it. I have been pushed both mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. That is, throughout my constant struggles and tribulations, I have learned a thing or two, and I would like to use this space to share them. So without further adieu, here are the top 5 things that I have learned while moving over to the UK to teach.
1.) No matter how tough the kids are on you, you cannot let them ruin your day.
This was very tough for me at the beginning, because I would always go home after a long day and feel like absolute rubbish. I felt defeated, and as soon as I arrived home, my housemates knew it too. So I try my best to check my attitude and spirit before I go home, because every day is a new day, and I am privileged to try again tomorrow.
2.) Curriculum’s will always change, policies will emerge, and structure will confine you as a teacher, but that does not mean you cannot add the human connection to teaching.
I found that I felt very confined in my teaching when I first arrived and that I had to follow a very structured way of instructing because the students responded well to it. I have found now that I can always add more creativity to my lessons, and more time for to interact with the pupils. At the end of the day, the students want to talk to each other, and they want to chat with me, and I should always have the time for that.
3.) If you have challenging students, it is imperative you connect with them.
This has been a very difficult concept for me, because even though I like to think I am great at connecting with my pupils, there are always some that I find it tough to. In many cases, these are the students who have behavior issues in class and disrupt the learning. I have learned that even though you ask questions and chat with these students, it is important to listen to them chat with their peers and find out more about them. These little things go such a long way especially when you need their focus and respect.
4.) Take care of yourself.
I have had many tough and grueling days, aind I find that I come home, grumble about it and go to bed. Yet, waking up and feeling the same way. I learned that I need to take time to do fun hings that I like, and to talk to people. A big one that I found is finding time to go outside, or to exercise. It always helps to clear my mind and keeps me going.
5.) You can always plan more, but it does not need to be all the time.
Do not get me wrong, planning is great and every first year teacher needs it, but you can always work on a perfect lesson, and there will always be something that goes wrong. It helped me to have a general idea of what I was doing, but learning to flow with the lesson and where the students were heading helped me significantly. I have spent way too many late nights planning, only to have my lessons be a disaster, and my energy levels very low. It’s so important to bring your spirit and energy to the classroom as teacher, and sometimes planning can take that away from you, so do not let it.
To conclude, I am still learning a lot about myself, my teaching, and the teacher I want to be, but I thought I would take the time to reflect back on the experiences I have had. If you have anything you want to add feel free, or let me know what you found important to you when you first started your job.
Thanks for reading!