When I made the decision to transition from an office job to the classroom I was to everyone else’s surprise looking for an escape…I know with this generation of children I sound insane for saying that; but coming from a toxic work culture I was dying for any relief. If you have read my older posts you would know that this was not my first time in the classroom.
When I first applied for the job I truly did it off a whim. The school was one I was working with for a few years through my service club and I never expected to get a call much less the job but God works in mysterious ways and He had other plans for me.
As you read this I am on summer vacation (OMG that feels good to say!) and I thought it would be a good time to share some of the lessons I have learned from being in the classroom as a part-time teacher for a year:
- Patience is a MUST – When dealing with children & especially children coming from rough backgrounds or neighbourhoods you have to harness your patience. I found that many of the students have learning disabilities, lack love, lack discipline, suffer from some form of mental instability & social issues which often surface in the classroom. If there is a boundary, they will certainly test it so you as the educator & adult in the room need to learn and exercise patience in order to unearth their hidden potential or just inspire them to make it through the subject.
- Love goes a long way – I heard many scary stories from other experienced teachers which made me question my decision. However, when I got there I realized that a lot of these children need love more than correction. Therefore, I had to learn to discipline from a place of love and not from a place of annoyance or injured pride. My kids (and BTS) also taught reminded to love myself; because in loving myself I was able to love them better.♥️
- Corporal Punishment is a waste of time – corporal punishment in the classroom and home, I have realized, often is the result of the adults involved frustrations. Like I said before, these children WILL TEST your boundaries and it doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional or non traditional high school. Corporal punishment reinforces the violence these children are witnessing at home or hear being glorified in the songs they listen to daily. Violence has no effect on them and it certainly does not curb the behaviour.
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail– this old adage I have proven in this year. Lesson plans may be a hassle but they are a necessary pain. The minute you step into that classroom if you don’t have your thing together you will crumble fast.
- A soft answer does turneth away wrath – with colleagues and students alike I learned that sometimes a soft answer (reasoning logically) does diffuse some hostile situations. Like I said before you have to be the adult in the room and just move past certain issues in order to meet the bigger goals.
- Goal setting is a must – for years I have been setting and forgetting goals quite easily but this past year in the classroom has changed my perspective. Having a goal for the year allowed me to stick to my plan and have a better direction on my path.
- Not to complain – I have a running joke with my friends about us having “uptown problems” such as not being able to add Netflix to the monthly budget, not being able to take that vacation you want to take or not being able to buy a car just yet. This year taught me that I have more “uptown problems” than I realized; so whenever I found myself about to complain I just could not because daily I saw children who have real problems.
- Don’t be afraid to be creative – I reconnected with my creative side & it was amazing!
- Finally, I learned to have fun. I think it’s impossible to be around young people and not crack a smile. I learned to appreciate the laughs, smiles, jokes and hugs.
This year has been a life changer for me. I remember a few years ago I was complaining about the directionless path my life was on when my Grandmother reminded me that everything happens for a reason.
I am grateful for these lessons and I believe they will help me to become a better teacher.
Has your job taught you any lessons? I would love to hear them in the comment section below.
Until next time,