The funny thing about going to school to become a teacher is that you assume everything you need to know will be learned in those valuable education classes. I took Educational Psychology; surely I understand the mind and motivation of my students. In my literature classes, I gobbled up every classic that my students would ever read. And, without a doubt, discipline would never be an issue because I knew how to create detailed lesson plans and used the latest teaching trends to keep students engaged and on task. But in reality, the most valuable lessons I learned about being a teaching, becoming teacher, and what a teacher truly means to her students came from watching a great teacher in action.
With all of my education classes behind me, I was ready to teach. The only thing between me and my own classroom was student teaching. I had my school assignment, my mentor teacher, and my amazing lesson plans in hand. Just give me those kids and let do my stuff!
And then I presented my first lesson, and it failed miserably.
The kids weren’t interested. Everything was over their heads or boring them to tears. A few boys in the back of the class were far more interested in throwing things at each other. A group of girls in the front were doodling hearts and flowers all over their handouts. And if it that class lasted five more minutes, I would have been in tears.
Feeling defeated and deflated, I turned to my mentor teacher, Mrs. Christ, and said “I’m not sure what happened. I thought I had everything I needed.”
With absolute patience and a kind smile, she put her arm around me and suggested we take another look at my lesson. She gave me positive feedback and some places to make changes, but more importantly she gave me insight to my students. In all of my fancy lesson planning, I forgot all about my students.
“These kids work really well in a group and these kids don’t. Let’s change these groups.”
“This is a great idea, but it’s too advanced for the students. Let’s think about how we can break it down and introduce it to them.”
“Sometimes you have the kids time to think. Don’t rush them. They”ll get it”
“You can do this. You can do this!”
In the weeks that followed, I did a lot more listening and watching. I watched Mrs. Christ interact with her students. How she encouraged the ones that were struggling. A pat on the back for the kids on the right track. And a stern look from across the room could quiet the rowdiest of kids. She could bring the quietest student into the conversation and made sure each child felt like an important part of her class. I watched the kids traipse into her room at lunchtime for help and sometimes just for a chat. I saw how she interacted with them inside the class and outside of class. This is where my real learning took place.
Clearly I learned a lot from my education classes, but the most valuable lessons I learned where watching Mrs. Christ work her magic with her students. For the time in her class and for her patience, kindness, and everything she taught me without even realizing, I am truly thankful.
So what about you? Do you have a teacher that you loved or made a difference in your life? Check out this video from Kronos, explaining why we need to #ThankATeacher, and then go enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom to win a $50 Amex gift card for yourself and a $100 Staples gift card for your favorite teacher.
“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” – Karl Menninger
I couldn’t agree more and couldn’t be more thankful for my time with Mrs. Christ.
So be sure to enter the giveaway and #ThankaTeacher by giving them an amazing gift!
*****This post is sponsored by Kronos Incorporated, but my love and appreciation for teachers is 100% my own! *****