Friday, October 3, 2014

9 Things No One Told Me About Teaching.

Today I finished my 6th week of teaching and I promised myself that I would write a blog post no later than today.

I've started several posts the last few weeks but stopped because I wasn't sure what to say. I wanted to talk about my new job and how wonderful it is, but that wouldn't be the truth. 
The truth? It's hard. Like, the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. That doesn't mean I don't love it -- I do -- but the reason I haven't posted is because I was trying to find the balance between being honest and not complaining.

I knew this was going to be hard. I didn't choose this career because I thought it would be easy. I just didn't know exactly how hard it would be.

It's also extremely rewarding. When students start to really get it, when they hug you and tell you that they love you, when they make you birthday cards and pictures, when you can tell that they are really starting to love learning -- those are the moments that make it all worth it.

I just look forward to the day when those moments outnumber the challenging ones. ;)

Anyway, here is my list of things I've learned in my 6 weeks as a teacher that no one had ever told me (or they had and I didn't believe them). They told me A LOT, but there are some things you just have to experience for yourself.

1. You learn more than you teach. The best teachers are always looking for ways to improve. I knew that, but I didn't realize how much learning was really involved in the teaching process. Seriously -- I have learned probably 50 times more this 6 weeks than my students have.

2. Hours? What hours?! Teachers don't have hours. Or, more accurately, we have endless hours. At my old job, I arrived promptly at 7:45am every day and left as soon as the clock struck 3 and then I was free. Now, my school hours are 7:35-3:35, but I typically get there at 7 and leave 5-6, and then I come home and work on lesson plans/classroom stuff until I finally go to bed around 10-11, then I do it all again the next day. Weekends are also filled with school stuff.

3. You won't have time to blog. I started reading all these blogs by teachers who post regularly and I'm just like, HOW. I've been teaching for 6 weeks and barely have time to breathe. When I do sit down for a break the last thing I want to do is be using my brain. I like to watch mindless TV. You already knew that though.

4. You will forget it's your birthday. This probably just goes with having a full time job in general, but last week was my birthday and it completely snuck up on me. I'm really big on birthdays and normally I'm counting down the days. This was the first year that I was like, whoa, it's my birthday.

5. 5-year-olds are like puppies. They're cute and funny and full of energy and extremely difficult to train. Classroom management is by far the hardest part of this job.

6. Planning out lessons and organizing your classroom is strangely fun. I always thought the instruction and time spent in class was the best part of teaching, but as a sub that's the only part I really experienced. Let me tell you, it may sound like a lot of work but the planning and organization of it is right there at the top of my list of favorite parts of this job. I may have infinite hours, but at least I'm having fun with it.

7. Public school and private school are two totally different worlds. I grew up going to private school, and that's where I got all my teaching experience, too. When I decided I wanted to teach in a public school instead, I had no idea how upside-down my world was about to be turned. The only time I had ever set foot in a public school before was to take the SAT. It's totally different, but I don't regret my decision (though I do wish I had been a little more prepared ;) ).

8. A laminator is a great investment. Non-laminated papers won't survive two days in a kindergarten classroom. I got a laminator for my birthday and it's the best gift ever. I've been laminating everything.
9. Having a supportive administration and staff is everything. The best advice I can give anyone who is planning on going into teaching is to find a school with a great support system. You will need it your first year teaching. When I was job hunting, I just wanted a job. I was at the point where I didn't care where it was. I'm counting my blessings that I ended up at a place where my principals and co-teachers are pretty much willing to help me out in any way possible. Without that, I would be lost. 

And now, I will leave you with several pictures of Ryan Gosling telling me what a great teacher I am.


  1. LOVE Ryan Gosling's personal messages to you! ;)

  2. Thanks for this, dear! It was such an encouragement!