Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Those Who Have Gone Before Me

In Life Lesson #4 From Camel’s Hump from Janet Given's Blog, Janet Givens asks,

“ What places in your life have been made easier because of those who had gone before you? “

When I was growing up, my older sisters used to tell me how easy I had it. They had forged the way for me with my parents. My parents had to tell with their teenage angst and dating so they knew what to expect when I came along. All that teenage rebellion from my sisters had helped negotiate expectations so when I came along, I didn’t have to fight so much for what I wanted.

This past year I went to my first knitting retreat. At first I was nervous and excited but I didn’t know what to expect. Through monthly video chats, I was able to meet other retreat attendees and get to know them before the retreat. I was also able to ask questions and learn more about what to expect and this really helped me when I got to the retreat. I didn’t feel like I was all alone because I had already “met” these people online.

I also like to read books written by teachers that tell about their experiences in the classroom or listen to other teachers tell about things that had happened in their classroom. This helps me know what others have dealt with and how they handled it. By reading these situations, I am able to think about how I would handle it if I was in the same situation. I feel like I’m doing “fire drills” of different situations so that I’m prepared in case I ever have to face the same thing.

Another thing that I don’t thing we do enough of is about dealing with parents. I think it is important to share about how we relate with parents.  I know we tell new teachers that they should do this and how often but I’m not sure we actually say how to do this. So, I like to ask other teachers about what they say to parents in different situations. How do they handle an irate parent? How do they share good things about their students? How do they handle a conflict with the parent? These are important tactics that might help me if I’m ever in the same situation.

I also like to talk to other teachers who may have taught the same concept or skill that I’m planning to teach. They might be able to share the things that really worked well or things that didn’t. They might have a specific activity that they are willing to share with me. This was the best thing about waiting in line for the copier and I could ask teachers about what lesson they were preparing to teach. One time a science teacher and I were talking about a unit that we both taught and she invited my class to join her class for a guest speaker. She also shared some of her materials with me to use for my lesson.

I think it is important to realize that others with experience may have valuable information to  help me. These don’t have to be just veteran teachers but may be new teachers who have taught a certain concept or skill that I haven’t taught yet.

How has others with more experience helped you? Please share.

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