By Teachers, For Teachers
You learn many things when you are in college studying for the teaching profession, from how to write a lesson plan, to how to maintain communication with your students’ parents. However, these topics are just ever so slightly brushed upon, just enough so that you have an overall knowledge of them. What some education degrees forget to teach you about the teaching profession are some of the most important information that you have to figure out on your own: Topics like how to handle your classroom when you have a student that is constantly interrupting you, or how much you will rely on the Internet and teacher blogs to get your lesson plans done. These are a just some of the many topics that your degree may not have prepared you for. Here are a few more topics from the teaching profession that you may be still be trying to figure out.
Your degree may have taught you how to write a lesson plan, but did it teach you any tips on how to get it done when you are in a pinch? Lesson planning can be challenging, especially when you have so many other things on your plate. The next time you write your lesson plans, try starting backwards. Think about what your objective is first, then you can think about the activities that correlate. Once you know your objective, then you can always download a premade lesson plan from the Internet.
Many of you probably learned how to create rubrics to assess your students, but did you learn how to create quick and effective ones that your students will actually understand? What you most likely learned was how to create a very long and in-depth rubric that you didn’t even understand. What you are probably trying to still figure out is how to create an easy, readable rubric that you can use for just about everything. Try using only three categories such as “Meets expectations, developing expectations, and below expectations.” You can basically use this type of rubric for any subject.
Your college professors have taught you how to keep students in their seats and a few tips on how to keep them quiet, but they most likely didn’t teach you how to handle productive chaos. This is the chaos that ensues when your students are working on something in class, or when a student disrupts you while you are in the midst of the important part of your lesson and you totally lose track of what you were saying. Many teachers are still trying to figure out this one. The best advice for this topic is to make sure that you have strict rules and consequences in place, as well as a really great attention-getting signal.
Standards are always changing and now with the common core standards, it seems like there is even more information that needs to be learned on a daily basis. Many college professors touch upon the standards that you will need to know. You most likely had to practice how to implement them into your lesson plans, but you probably never learned what to do, or how it would make you feel if they changed them. What you need to tell yourself is that it’s part of your job, and it’s essential that you learn them like the back of your hand.
If you have been in the teaching profession for a long time, then your college institution may have not taught you how to differentiate your lesson plans. This is a very “Hot” topic in education today. Many classroom teachers are choosing to, or have to, differentiate their lesson plans. They easiest way to make sure that each and every one of your students is learning at his/her own level, is to create a choice board where students get a choice in how they learn. This is the quickest way for you to be able to reach all learners.
Transition periods, when they are in between subjects or specials or lunchtime, can be quite chaotic. This is the time when students are moving from one thing to another and you usually don’t understand how hard this can be for a teacher until you are student teaching, or have a classroom of their own. You probably didn’t get drilled with tips on transition time in college. If you want to make sure your transitions run smoothly, than you must have a procedure in place. Once you have your procedure make sure you practice it daily.
I bet your college professor never told you how much you would rely on the Internet. They probably made it seem like you would have to come up with all of these great lesson plans from scratch in your head. The reality of it is that you don’t. If you are busy teacher, which must of you are, you will need some help. Teacher blogs and social media sites can be your best friend.
There will come a time when your tech tools will not work. You will have to have paper lessons or textbook lessons, or group work ready for these moments. You will also need to know who to call or how to fix the issues yourself when something does break down.
You learned that you would have to work with parents and how their support in their child’s education is essential for their success. What you didn’t learn was how hard it can be to work with some of the parents. You always need to keep in mind that you are dealing with someone’s child, and the parent usually just wants what they think is the best for them. However, sometimes you will encounter a disrespectful parent. When this happens, you must make sure to record everything and get the administration involved if need be.
No one ever taught you how hard it is to gain the respect of all of your students. It takes time, and a lot of patience but it is essential for the success of the student. The best advice for this topic is to take the time to individually get to know each student as best as you can. Once the student knows that you are trying to learn more about them, and that you respect them, the easier it will be for them to respect you.
What did you education degree forget to teach you? Is there any topic that you wish you learned more about when you were in college? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.