Friday, July 16, 2010

What Experience Gives You

1. You're not going to save the world so quit beating yourself up over the one(s) that got away.

2. You're not going to destroy the world so shake off the bad lesson/day/week/month—whatever. I've had to shake off a bad year—or three.

3. No matter how much time you put into developing the perfect assessment system, you'll rarely be surprised at what your kids can do. They show you every day—if you pay attention.

4. It is OK to smile before Christmas. In fact, the teachers who told you that are probably the reason your kids hate school.

5. Let 'em go to the bathroom. 

6. You really don't have to spend 60-80 hours per week to be effective.  It's tough to keep that pace up for a career.

7. Teachers:Admin::Students:Teachers. You see staff meetings the same way students see your class. How will you deal with that?

8.  When dealing with staff, make few statements but ask lots of questions.  Asking questions always works because they're fair.  Sometimes you have to get people to actually verbalize their bad ideas before they see the fault in them.

9.  Lighten up a little. 

10. Not everything you try is going to work.  So what?  Keep trying; it sets a good example for your students.


Jesse said...

i love you for writing this. thank you. do it often. we need to be reminded.

iTeach said...

GREAT list. I'm a fan of #7. I learned a couple of years ago to take notes in staff meetings - what to do, and what to stop doing. Hence, I got away from too much direct instruction. Here's the other part - the prof dev. workshops where we didn't "get through" all we were supposed to but interacted, asked questions, discussed, and walked away with new ideas were the best. I want my classes similar to that.

Matt Townsley said...

11. Blogging really is therapeutic. Share everything you think isn't interesting, because somebody else will think it is. It also allows you to tell a broad audience "what experience gives you."


Seriously - well said, David.

Michelle said...

Great list. Thanks for the awesome reminders!

I especially like #4. Funny, but I find all my lessons are significantly more successful when I'm smiling. When I'm smiling, my kids usually are as well. Hmm. There might be something to this. :-)

Love Matt's #11 suggestion. Here's a #12:
Try something new. You are a teacher who wants to foster a love of learning in your students. Walk your talk. While learning, show your students that you are NOT the expert and that it's okay to make mistakes. You learn better from mistakes anyway.

doyle said...

Just stumbled on your blog through Twitter--how did I miss this?

Great stuff!

David Cox said...

Thanks all, glad the list is appreciated. Just remind me to remind you will ya, Jesse?

Notes in a staff meeting, Persida? What a novel idea. Seriously, I am more convinced that every problem we see with our students can be spotted in the admin/teacher relationship. And the teachers who make the most noise regarding what kids can't do are usually the ones who demonstrate the very same behaviors in staff meetings.

I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure, huh Matt? You're right, though. The things I see as simple may be that way only because I have so many years under my belt. I have to keep that in mind.

Great suggestion Michelle. If we don't show them we aren't afraid to fail at something, what makes us think they're going to try?

And, glad to be stumbled upon, Doyle.

grace said...

Thanks for sharing this-- #1 was one of the biggest lessons I learned my first year; while there's a lot that IS within a teacher's scope of influence, it's never entirely your fault when a child slips through the cracks. But as awful of a feeling as that is, there are many more children who didn't, and those are the ones you keep coming to school for.

An important reminder. Thanks!

JamiDanielle said...

This is fabulous! I spent a lot of time this year thinking about the admin/teacher; teacher/student parallels and what I could learn from my own experiences on both ends of those relationships.

I know how I behave in a bad PD session and how I behave in a good PD session; can be quite eye-opening to look at my students' behavior in that light.

And goodness, why in the world do we spend so much time fighting this.