While taking a break from preparing my syllabi for my second year of teaching, I am certainly thinking about mistakes I made in my first year of teaching. My mistakes are below, in no certain order.
- Lack of preparedness. I don’t mean I didn’t do a lesson plan, college taught me how to BS my way through a paper, but lesson plans are papers with repercussions. As long as a paper in college wasn’t plagiarized you were golden. You can’t just put down what you’re “planning” on doing on a lesson plan, email it in, and call it good. Turns out when you say your going to do an assessment, you have to actually make the assessment, and subsequently grade it, and put it in the gradebook. Which leads me to my second point…assessments.
- Lack of Assessments. I was baller when it came to giving classwork assignments. Students would have 25 or 30 classwork assignments in “the book,” but very few quizzes, and less tests at the end of the quarter. The problem with this is it distorts the reality of how the student is doing in class because when Johnny shows his mom all of the “A’s” he’s making in class they both believe he’s on his way to passing with flying colors, but a few poor quiz grades can really throw a wrench in that. The best lesson I learned this year was assessments create accountability for the student, and student accountability makes for WAY better classroom management.
- Being Young. OK, I was 25 on my second first day of middle school. I had never taught a day in my life (no, I didn’t student teach. I was going to do alt. certification, but that’s for another post). I was ten years older than some of my students, which they certainly used to their advantage. Now, I was able to have some very meaningful conversations and build some strong relationships with some students, but in most cases it caused more problems than it solved. I simply didn’t make students respect me.
I am excited about this blog, If you are a young teacher, or soon to be teacher, I hope your summer is going well, and you are getting geared-up/excited about the upcoming school year. Like, comment, share, etc.