Friday, December 30, 2016

The ABC's of Teaching

As I sit and enjoy my winter vacation, I can't help, but think about teaching. You know how it is. When you're a teacher, teaching is one of your top thoughts. My top 3 are food, TV, and teaching. Someday, exercise will be one of them.

So, I made a list of words that came to mind when I think of teaching. These are my first thoughts. I'm not sure what some of these might say about me. I just wrote the alphabet and jotted down the first word that came to mind.

A is for art. Every classroom needs arts and crafts. I was a shy kid. Art brought me out of my shell. It allowed me to be myself. Don't know why. It just did.

B is for baby steps. Everything we teach our students must be done at our students' pace.

C is for creativity. Teaching is a work of art. If we don't try to make it engaging, our kids won't be engaged. It could be as simple as having students trade desks for a lesson.

D is for donuts. I know, if I really think about it, there's probably a much better word for D. But donuts every now and then make for a fun treat!

E is for environment. My main goal is to make my classroom environment one of love and acceptance. I want my shyest little girl to feel comfortable.

F is for family. I tell my students we are a family. They are brothers and sisters. They will be together all year, so they need to get along.

G is for gift. I feel so blessed for being given the gift of being a teacher. I don't know what else I would do.

H is for happiness. My mom tells me to fake it 'til you make it. True. Even on bad days, we teachers have to create a classroom of happiness. For some kids, this is the only happy place they know.

I is for independence. It is the job of parents and teachers to make our kids independent.

J is for January. Honestly, I couldn't think of a word for J. The only word that came to mind was January. I am always shocked by how much my students mature over winter break. When they return in January, they're like totally different kids.

K is for kids. This was obvious. I teach kids.

L is for love. Teachers must love what they do and who they teach. We have kids in our classrooms that depend on us.

M is for movies. I could have put math or something better here, but sometimes kids need to enjoy a movie. . .that goes with a novel we have read.

N is for needy. Kids can be needy, which is why it is part of my job to make them independent.

O is for order. Every classroom needs order. The best lesson isn't the best lesson unless the kids are listening.

P is for patience. No explanation needed.

P is for professional development. I know, I already did P, but this one is so important. Teachers must take it upon themselves to learn about their jobs. College wasn't enough. To be honest, college didn't prepare me at all for teaching. However, graduate work did. As well as keeping up on best practices during my own time.

Q is for quiet. Quiet can be heavenly. It can be weird. It can be awkward. It can be uncomfortable. It can be peaceful.

R is for responsibility.  Being responsible will be a predictor of one's future. That's my opinion.

S is for safe. It is my job to make sure my students feel safe.

T is for tattling. I cringed as I typed that. I take time each day during the first week of school to discuss the difference between tattling and telling. It is the best 15 minutes per day I spend.

U is for universal access. Small group time is my favorite. It's my students' favorite. I get to work with a few kids and they get to work independently.

V is for voice. I have a fabulous microphone that attaches to my shirt collar. Because of it, I never lose my voice.

W is for wait time. Always give kids time to think after posing a question. The more difficult the question, the more time they need to think.

X is for eXcitement. Each day should be filled with some sort of excitement. Hopefully it's from a lesson and not from a spider crawling across a kid's desk.

Y is for young. Sometimes we must stop, breathe, and remind ourselves they are young.

Z is for zoo. And yes, there will be days that we feel like we work in a zoo.
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