Thursday, July 28, 2016

P is for Practice

Teaching takes a lot of practice.

When I first became a teacher, it didn’t feel natural. I had to work at what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the best teacher that ever was, but I had to work at it.

Just like athletes and musicians, no one starts out being great. It may take many years of practice with frustration included. Yet, if you keep trying and practicing, you can’t help but improve.

When I first started, I used to write notes as a kind of script to make sure that I said all the necessary things that are expected of all teachers. The more I taught, the less that I needed to use this type of script as a reminder. The more I practiced, the more natural these things became. It is like learning to ride a bicycle or driving a car. At first it feels awkward but all of the things you do are important steps so you don’t get hurt or hurt others. Teaching is a lot like this.

Many times I would get frustrated because lessons didn’t go as planned. I expected the students to do better than they did. The important step was reflecting about the lesson and looking at what went well, what didn’t do well, and what I would do differently. This also took a lot of time and effort but it was important.

My first year of teaching I kept a journal. This helped me the next year so I could look back at lessons and try to improve on them in this new year. This practice improved my other lessons. As years passed, I no longer needed to keep a journal but I was always reflecting on my lessons in order to improve them. Many of the strategies that I improved would apply to different lessons.

My first five years of teaching was pretty hard and frustrating, yet rewarding. It is important for new and struggling teachers to know that being an effective teacher takes practice. It is important not to give up and not to stop trying to improve.

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