Well, my first year of teaching is over. I feel like I closed my eyes for a minute and I opened them to find the whole year has passed! It went so fast, and I loved it. It’s interesting finishing a year and planning/getting ready for “next year.” In school, “next year” always meant the next level—the next grade, the next class and schedule, one year closer to the end! But now it’s just plain next year. No new level to progress to, except maybe to be past the whole ‘first year’ stage! I’m still deciding how I feel about that sameness each year. I like it and I don’t like it. Any thoughts? 🙂
I started a list of things I’ve learned this year, so I thought I would just keep it in a list format. It’s already long enough without adding full sentences. Not sure whether you will get anything out of it or not, but this is what I got out of my first year of “real life.”
-I learned that I LOVEEE my students and the little elementary classes! (How can you get so attached to such small people??)
-I learned that I can teach a class. And I even like it. 🙂
-I learned that it’s not enough to demand silence or respect in the classroom, they pay attention best when you convince them that what you’re saying is important. And you have to be convinced of that, first!
-I learned that all that glitters isn’t gold.
-I learned that I don’t teach piano; I teach people. (Francis Clark)
-Drama: is everywhere. It doesn’t end in high school…or college!
-Criticism will come from everywhere. Just keep going.
-Wise advice can come from the most unlikely places.
-I learned that I hate keeping secrets. 😉
-I learned that sometimes it’s the youngest people you know who are the kindest and most likely to make your day.
-I learned that I get hungry every day at 10am. Thank goodness for prize-box candy.
-I learned that you really have no idea what someone else may be going through–so don’t jump to conclusions.
-I learned that sometimes you have to explain things a million times, and then another million, and then on the thirty millionth time they get it! 🙂
-But most of the time, you have to figure out how they learn and explain it a bunch of different ways until it clicks. It’s a lot of fun—especially when they finally understand and know that they got it.
-Even big kids like stickers.
-They remember what you said better than you do.
-A smile goes a long way.
-A second grader’s drawing given to you is more valuable than any expensive painting you could ever find.
-I learned that all the activities I used to look forward to in high school aren’t quite as fun without your best friends going through it with you.
-I learned that having brothers on two equally-close-to-my-heart opposing teams shows you a lot about yourself. Talk about finding out where your true loyalty lies!
-I learned that car rides are great bonding times. Nothing like a long drive and disagreeing music tastes to get you talking about life’s deep and confusing issues.
-I learned that younger brothers grown up are just as protective as older brothers!
-I learned that God always provides a way of escape.
-I learned that once you begin teaching, you develop a deep and desperate appreciation for all of your teachers growing up.
-I learned that if you can make it through a first grade piano lesson…God has given you the gift of patience.
-Singles retreats…can…be fun.
-I learned that you need those close friends to go on trips and outings with and to just share your struggles with.
-Having to say “hi”, give a hug, or high five every individual child as a long line of class goes out to recess makes all the work worth it.
-Hearing little voices singing makes it all worth it.
-Teacher Appreciation Week: WOW! Totally worth it 😉
-Seeing more kids add after hearing their friends play at the recital and talk about it as ‘fun’—worth it.
-I learned that when you let God lead your life, it’s totally worth it.
I know I’ll probably keep re-learning these things and add new ones to the list as life keeps going. I guess that’s kind of what I signed up for when I became a teacher—to never stop learning! But that’s a good thing. I want to keep learning, and see things I’ve never seen before and discover new things all the time. I’m so thankful for this year. I wouldn’t trade it—being home with my family, going to my home church, teaching at my brother’s school, watching my nephew grow!—for anything.
Well…another blog post down. Maybe I’ll do another one again next year. 🙂