- Teaching is like having 147 tabs open at the same time - you must know how to multitask. When students come in your door, you often have a multitude of situations and issues to deal with all at once. You have to think on your feet. Teachers probably make as many quick decisions as doctors and nurses in a day.
- To teach is to be "on" all the time. Even the shy, more reserved teachers are, essentially, performing for a good part of the day. I was talking to a teacher the other day who said that when she gets home, she doesn't want to talk to anyone because she's been talking all day. Sometimes I feel that way too....I have a short commute but I know teachers who like their long commutes to unwind from the day.
- Teaching is mentally and physically exhausting. All those split-second decisions and the being "on" all the time tax our bodies and minds. When it's time for a long weekend or a vacation, we really, really need it.
- Teaching involves so much more than preparing lessons. So so much more. We are called upon to parent, to nurse, to counsel, to love, to fill in gaps, to lead, to follow, to negotiate, to accept, to tolerate, to motivate, to engage .....and the list goes on.
- Sometimes, you have to find a different path than you thought to get across to your students. It requires a lot of flexibility and thinking outside of the box. But, as my new principal would say, "There is ALWAYS a way."
- The students can be the highlight and the low point of our days, depending on how things go. Hopefully they are more often the highlight!
- In order to teach well, and be fully present, we have to take care of ourselves. Teacher self-care and mindfulness are areas I have been reading and hearing about a lot lately. It's like the oxygen masks on the airplane: first put yours on before you put your children's on. Seems counter-intuitive, but it's necessary. Writing this blog is part of my self-care. It's how I reflect and process teaching; it's my mindfulness.
I would love to hear from other teachers. What are some things you have learned in your teaching career? What do you wish someone had told you before you started? Please comment below!