Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I Wish I’d Known From Year One

{First grade...1996-1997}
My mom just completed her 30th year teaching and I want to brag on her a little bit. Anyone who has spent time around a teacher knows how hard and long they work. There is so much more to the job than just spending your days with kids. My mom has poured herself  into her students over the past 30 years and I admire her more than she knows. I’ve grown up in her classroom and spent countless hours in the place that has been her home away from home. I've also had the joy of watching her in action many times where she transforms from "mama" to "Mrs. Shepherd." She has such a calm and loving presence as a teacher while maintaining a firm grasp on behavior management. There is no doubt that she was meant to be a teacher.

She spent the majority of her 30 years in the primary grades until she decided to take on middle school the last four years.

She has taught:
3 years of pre-k {2 of which were ESE}
5 years of kindergarten
15 years of first grade
3 years of second grade
2 years of 6th, 7th, 8th grade reading {ESE}
2 years of 6th grade language arts

{Second grade...she was pregnant with me here!}
I find myself going to her all the time for advice and questions about teaching. I love hearing her stories and soaking up the wisdom she has. I asked her to share what she wish she had known from year one. Here is what she said:

1. Keep a journal of all the funny things your students say and do.  You can pull this out when you're having a stressful or rough day to remind you why you went into teaching...the kids.

2. Have a set time for schoolwork each day (you NEED a personal life).  This becomes even more important when you're married and/or have children! It's okay to stay late one or two days a week, but have a set time to leave the other days and stick to it.

3. Be open to teaching a different grade level (you may love it!). I spent many years in the primary grades and was hesitant to teach the upper grades. When I moved to middle school, I discovered that I loved the older kids just as much as the little ones. I wish I had tried 3rd, 4th, or 5th...I would have loved it.

4. Understand that even the best teachers will occasionally be criticized by a parent. There will be many parents that encourage you, but you won't always "jive" with every single one. Know that this happens to the best of teachers!

5. Know that God gave you that challenging student to teach you something. They will stretch you and test you, but you will also learn from them.

{Second grade...I absolutely adore this picture.}
I can't wait until my mom can help me in my classroom! I'm sure she will see many of her strategies utilized in my classroom that I've learned from her over the years. After all, they do say "like mother, like daughter."


Mrs. P said...

WOW! This is such a powerful post. As I begin my journey in 2nd grade this year, I am so inspired when I hear stories of teachers like your mother. My student teaching teacher was a lot like her and taught me so many invaluable lessons that I will carry with me through all of my years of teaching. Thank you for sharing this! I really love this post!

That's So Second Grade

Tiffany said...

Such a perfect post as I get ready to teach this fall! Thanks so much for posting :)

alliespence. said...

Aww your passion to teach is so evident and beautiful. Great advice too from your mom - what an inspiration and role model!!

Kaitlyn's Life and Blogs said...

Aww I love this!! I am going to be a teacher as well. :)

Natalie said...

This is awesome! I come from a long line of teachers, so we have conversations like this non-stop! I love the advice your mom gave about challenging students. I wrote it down so I'd remember it! =D

siddathornton said...

i love this post - i love that you share your mom's teaching dream. you're going to be great!

- lauren

Katie Cook said...

ohmygoodnessgracious! Kids do say the most hilarious things...i'm glad you are keeping a list, and I can't wait to hear some of them! haha love Katie

Katie said...

these are all such good pieces of advice!! I wrote down a lot of funny things kids said the first few years and wish I had done it the past few!

The Cavallaro's said...

Just stumbled across your blog and I am glad I did because I looove that advice!

Especially #1 and #2.... I can't believe all the hilarious and cute things my students say (A veteran teacher told me to keep a journal my first year and I am so GLAD that I took her advice. I also keep a folder of all of the cute drawings/pictures that my students make me - the good and the bad ones!)

And #2 is SOO important because I remember my first year... I had NO life outside of work. And I really needed that time for MYSELF so that I could be the best teacher I could for my kiddos! And not to mention, I had to keep my sanity!

Looooove your blog!

Anonymous said...

I could not love this post more! Your mom sounds like an amazing person and I bet that having her help you would be wonderful!

Please check out my new blog and become a follower! I'd love to have you!

Heather's Heart said...

I love this post! Especially the one about God giving us kiddos who will teach us!

I would be so blessed to work with someone like you. I am happy that God has brought us together as blogging buddies. =)

Heather's Heart

Rhoda said...

This is great advice! I think you're going to be an amazing teacher! #5...oh good! :)

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