It was almost twenty years ago that I did my student teaching, but it does not seem like it was that long ago. It had only been a year since I even had my first thought of becoming a teacher, and now here I was teaching five classes full of seventeen and eighteen year old students.
I have heard all kinds of horror stories over the years about the terrible student teaching supervisors that people have had. That was not the case for me. My supervising teacher had such a big impact on me that I dedicated my first book to her.
Here are ten valuable lessons that she taught me during those few months of my student teaching experience that I still use today:
1) Be yourself. Don't feel like you have to be mean or act like some other teacher you had in the past. There is more than one way to be successful.
2) Don't let students say "shut up". This phrase is instant negative energy and a potential starter of arguments. Kidding or not, ban it.
3) Love your students like they are family. If you aren't in the teaching profession to serve students, then what are you doing there?
4) It's okay to take a break from the lesson and tell a short story. As long as you are efficient with your time, it is easy to adjust and still do everything you need to do.
5) Dress professionally. Consider yourself a professional. Dress the part unless there is some school wide activity or casual type day.
6) It's okay to smile and laugh. School is important, but you don't have to act like it's a life or death situation and be serious every second of every day.
7) Get along with your co-workers. Life is too short to have petty little arguments and disagreements over stupid stuff. Pick your battles and do your best to avoid conflict. Get to know everyone.
8) Don't tolerate disrespect from anyone. Respect your students and you will have a better chance of getting respect back.
9) Don't be intimidated by administration. Respect people in superior positions, but don't feel a need to kiss up or be scared of them.
10) Furman University is the greatest college in the world. I knew that one already.
Thanks, Mrs. Harper.
*Check back next week for the next post in my "Wussification of America" series.
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