Lessons from Teaching 1

For all the teachers out there who truly want to be teachers as their job: you are all saints. 

I have finished my first (half) week of being a Grade 6 teacher and I already know this is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done, if not the hardest.

On Tuesday, I pulled myself out bed at 5:30 to catch the bus at 6:40. The bus was late, the traffic awful, so we did not get to school until 8 exactly. The first bell for school rings at 7:45, at which point students line up in the school yard by class and there is this whole rigmarole morning routine and then everyone goes up to class at 7:55. So my first day, the students are already sitting in class waiting for me. Which wouldn’t have been that big an issue, except…I wasn’t given any of the books beforehand. So I literally have nothing to teach the students because I have no material, no idea what they’ve learned, nothing. It was hectic.

In fact, the entire week can be described as hectic. I am in a new job, with no real training, expected to successfully teach and manage a dozen or so prepubescent students.

I am a bit in over my head. At least, right now I am.

But here is what I’ve learned so far:

1. Be strict. Set up rules and consequences. Which I have. Stick to your guns. Which I will. It isn’t my job to be friends with the students.

2. Always have a lesson plan. ALWAYS. Which was really hard when I didn’t have the books, but tomorrow I’m planning out the lessons for the next 2 weeks (it is going to be a long day tomorrow).

3. Be confident. Or just look it.

But most important for me, I think, is to realize everything has a system. All I need to do is figure out the system. That, strangely and not so strangely, is the most comforting thought to me. As Sydney said to me, “You are one of the best bullshitters I know.” It’s true, I probably am. Which, yes, probably not the best accolade to receive (she also said I’m very intelligent so there you go), but what that means is I figure out a system, then I figure out how to manipulate it to suit my needs. The reason I’m so successful with ‘bullshit’ is because I do view so much life systematically. More often than not, things and people and such follow a set framework of movements and actions. Once I figure it out, I figure out the weak points and exploit them. That probably makes me a morally questionable person, but it also means I can have a lot of confidence with not a lot to back it up.

It’s what I’m counting on.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Lessons from Teaching 1

  1. i swear it’s a compliment!

  2. Oh my gosh, when I read this post, I was like: YES! I know exactly how she feels! I’m in my first year of teaching too, and I just walked in feeling like a complete fraud. I’m too young to do this! What is happening? Oh my gosh! Granted, I’m not in Cairo trying to figure it all out 🙂

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