Reality of Being a Teacher

When you’re in front of a class teaching so many things run through your head.

They don’t want to be here.
Their body is here, but their mind is in space.
They love learning!
Oh, they got it!
Oh, they did not understand whatsoever…
That’s what you picked up on??? 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to walk out that door during class. I have felt like a complete failure and on top of the world all within the same hour.

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Teaching is a lot different than I expected. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but didn’t realize how many mood swings I’d have because of the kids. But looking at it now, that’s what makes the job interesting.

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There are days where everything is normal. They’re the same old routines, and the kids know it. But then there are days when everything seems to go wrong or everyone acts extremely weird.

Last Friday, I had kids falling out of chairs like flies mysteriously, having accidents, pushing each other, good ones acting bad, bad ones acting terrible, and random singing. I’m not sure what triggered all of it, but it was an off day for all of us.

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When I first started teaching, I couldn’t stand little kids. I was expecting to teach high school students when I got here or at least the older grades. I couldn’t wait to discuss complicated topics, have them do writing assignments, and all sorts of neat activities.

That obviously didn’t work out. Teaching little kids felt like a major step down, because I had go back to the basics and work on pronunciation of words, forming a sentence, and learning how to spell. My mind was stuck in the medical field and everything I had done in college. I had to basically wipe all of that out and lower my diction in order to teach the kids.

Whoever said teaching kids was easy was lying. It’s a lot more difficult than you think…

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The attention span of my 6-7 year old’s is about 5 minutes. Getting an entire lesson done where they learn and retain the material is difficult, yet doable.

It took me forever to get into the routine and adjust to my kids. When I say adjust, I mean learning to let go of being so stiff. I’m used to the business world and being extremely formal. There was no way in hell that was going to work for primary one.

I had to unleash my inner child…

In the beginning, I hated teaching the grade. I felt unaccomplished and as if all my hard work at university was thrown out the window. Why in the world am I going back to the basics? Where’s the challenge?

Well, the challenge is in being able to let loose and get back down to the basics. Growing up with English your entire life and then having to teach it to foreign kids makes you realize how difficult the language really is.

It wasn’t until I got into the rhythm of teaching that I started to fall in love with the experience. They gave me a reason to stay and be their teacher.

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Each day I come in to class they make me smile… or pull my hair out. Either way, there’s at least one or two kids who brighten my day. Sometimes when I’m feeling down or as if I’m getting no where, some of my kids pop up and surprise me and turn it all around.

Then there are days when the kids come running up to me to practice a new conversation they finally learned. It’s kids like those that make me smile and who have changed my perspective.

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It also helps that my English Camp kids are wonderful! I had one student tell me how much she loved the experience because she learned so much and we were amazing teachers. Another girl was extremely sweet and made my day. I was impressed with her English.

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It’s kids like that who make teaching worth it. When they tell you how happy they are or how much they appreciate you teaching them something new it makes your heart swell. It makes everything worthwhile. This is why I got into teaching.

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Try not to let all of the bad moments deter you from doing what you love. You will find your rhythm and your niche eventually.

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