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6 Things I Believed Before I Became a Teacher

Lisa Mims

6 Things I Believed Before I Became a TeacherI decided to become a teacher when I was ten years old. I look back on my twenty-eight years in this profession, and think about what I believed before I actually became a teacher.

My, how my beliefs have changed.

My summers off are my summers off.

Visions of summer vacations danced in my head! And that’s just what they were, visions. And I know it’s not just me. There are many teachers who work during the summer in order to make a living. Or educators, like me, who are life-long learners. We take classes, attend conferences, join webinars, or hang out with our online PLN, eagerly awaiting a new year, and the chance to try out new things in our classrooms.

My lessons would be so incredible; I wouldn’t have any discipline problems.

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I used to dream of lessons that would make all the other teachers envious. My students would sit like angels, on the edge of their seats, eagerly soaking up as much learning as they possibly could. Not! I have had some discipline doozies! And I don’t care how great a lesson was, they were not interested! However, keep in mind, engaging lessons can work wonders, and they can change your discipline problem into a student his/her mother wouldn’t recognize!

All my students would love me.

I thought with my wonderful personality, what kid wouldn’t love me? Guess what? They all don’t love you. As a matter of fact, some of them don’t like you. And you know what? That’s alright, as long as you do your best to provide them with an education they deserve. Don’t take it personally. (Easier said than done). I’m fortunate, most of my students, and their parents, do like me. It makes my job much easier and more enjoyable!

Teaching would be fun, all the time.

When I set up the easel in my friend’s basement and played school, it was fun. As I continued on my journey to become a teacher, I was still having a good time. Once I entered the classroom though, reality hit. It’s not fun all the time. The kids, their parents, the administration, lesson plans, and that’s when I started teaching in the 80’s. Now it’s RTT, RTI, pacing guides, standardized testing, the list is endless. I won’t allow the joy to be sucked out, and I continue to find ways to keep the fun in my classroom!

I can fix anything.

No, I can’t. Sometimes there are things I can’t fix. No matter how deep I dig into my bag of tricks, I can’t fix everything. A hard lesson to learn.

I can make a difference.

I still believe this. As idealistic as it may sound, I still believe it. If you made a student smile, who feels they have nothing to smile about. (And our students have issues most adults couldn’t deal with.) If you taught a lesson that made a concept click. If you built up a child’s self-esteem, and gave them confidence. If you allowed a child the chance to share what they’re feeling, then you have made a difference. And as frustrating as teaching has become, this is the belief that has remained steadfast in my heart and mind, I can make a difference!