“You are not an interchangeable part and neither are your students. Make your classroom more artwork and less assembly line.”
When I started teaching, I was the assembly line teacher. I liked all my desks in neat little rows. I liked order and structure and everything tied up in neat little packages. But I quickly learned that teaching isn’t like that. Maybe in textbooks or the ideal world or movies but not in real life.
All my students were different. This was true for every day that I taught in over thirty years. No two students were alike. They were as different as our fingerprints. There was no one strategy that fit all my students so they could all be equally successful. Plus, success was different for every student.
So when I see new teachers or preservice teachers now, I wonder how in the world am I going to teach them how to teach. I thought I would start out with some words of advice.
· Be the Change.
· Don’t try to expect the students to fit the mold and learn all the same way.
· Don’t expect any given day or any student to be the same.
· Think of teaching as a puzzle to solve and every puzzle is different.
· Sometimes you must keep trying for what seems like a long time but don’t give up.
· Allow students to input their suggestions so that you can work as a team to solve the puzzle.
· Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues or parents. This is not a sign of weakness but a sign of willingness to do what is best for your students.
· Don’t fear the challenges but embrace them instead.
· Keep track of your victories so that you can look back at them when you are feeling discouraged. Remember that you helped change someone’s life.
What advice would you give these teachers? Please share.