6 things I learned my First Year of teaching

What teaching has taught me the last 365 days:

(For the record, I’m an assistant teacher at Montessori Preschool)

1. Endure the hard days, Enjoy the great days.When you spend 8 hours a day with small humans (#preschoolteacher), your days are going to vary drastically because small humans are human too and have lots of emotions every day. One day can be horrible because no one is listening and and no one is cooperating. And the next day, you ask a child ONCE to do something and they excitedly agree and want to do more and more to help in the classroom.

 

2. You’re going to repeat yourself a lot. You’re going to repeat yourself a lot. I’m sure this is universal for teachers, but like, half my day is spent repeating myself. Whether its repeating instructions to the same child, or repeating the same instructions to different children. If you hate repeating yourself, teaching may not be for you.

 

3. Newfound Respect for teachers. My first few weeks of teaching opened my eyes to just how hard, rewarding, emotionally exhausting, physically demanding and amazing it is to be a teacher. I instantly wanted to hug all my teachers who poured so much into my life the last 18 years. Especially my middleschool teachers. (HOW DO YALL HANDLE ALL THE HORMONES AND THE LACK OF PERSONAL HYGIENE?) Whenever I meet someone and find out they are a teacher, I just want to hug them and say “You’re doing an amazing job” and I also want to hug them and ask “So you know how I feel, right?”

4. Patience, Patience, Patience, Patience….wait for it…..patience.   Even though these kiddos I’m around are 3-6 years old, I can’t make them do anything they don’t want to do. I have no control over them. Sure, I could do everything for them and it would be a lot faster. But then, at what cost? Their independence when they washed their own dish, or confidence when they rolled up their nap roll by themselves. It’s so imperative at this age to let children start doing things by themselves. And with that comes A LOT of patience. We have like 4 or 5 kids who take like 5 to 10 minutes to change their shoes after recess. But to watch them focus so intently and to see their eyes light up when they are done (some of them even say, I DID IT!!!) it’s worth every second.

5. Thighs of Steel and A Bladder of Stone. Yall, I was looking at my legs the other day and noticed a bump when I straightened my leg out, I think people call them muscles or something, I got thigh muscles now from standing all day. Also, my friends and I used to joke that I have a bladder the size of a peanut. But now, I can hold it like a boss. I didn’t really learn this while teaching, but its relatable, teachers can never pee, amirite?

6. An amazing Opportunity.  Where else in the world are you going to be entrusted with 20-150 kids, 8 hours a day, for 9 months of the year?  Sure, you are there to teach them material, make sure they pass that dumb STAR test, and help prepare them for kindergarten,  middle school, highschool, college, or their life ahead. But you are also given an amazing opportunity to impact these kids lives. I’ll never forget a few of my teachers who went far and beyond their job description to ensure my experience in their class was a great one. My 3rd grade teacher made the classroom fun and did not take herself too seriously. When her computer would freeze up, she’d talk to it and then hit it with her shoe and we’d all die laughing. My highschool band director said the funniest things, cared about us as people, and was a great listener. My college professors challenged me and encouraged me. My professors my junior year of college are extra special because they all worked with me on my assignments/exams when I was dealing with my parent’s separation/divorce. The great teachers I had in my life, inspire me to be a great teacher for these little ones.

 

I am embarking on another 365 days of teaching (#schoolopenallyear) and I am excited to learn more about myself, these small humans, and teaching.

 

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You Don’t Define Who You are.

I got in my first argument with my mom when I was 3 years old. I wanted ice cream and so I went to my mom and said “Gungah,” which was what I called icecream when I was 3.Where on earth did I get the world gungah from? I have no clue. To this day, I’m still wondering if Gungah means icecream in any language on this planet.   That’ll always be a mystery, I guess. Anyways, so I’m standing there asking my mom for Gungah, and she responded: “Icecream, Marlie. You mean Icecream.”

“Gungah,” I retorted. Duh. Gungah. The cold creamy chocolate stuff that I get all over my face and hands. Gungah.

“Ice cream. Repeat after me: ICE….CREAM…”

“GUN…GAH….” I repeated again.

“No no no. if you want icecream you’re going to have to call it icecream. Let’s take it one word at a time. Say: ICE. Then Cream.”
“GUN….GAH.”

3 year old me was getting flustered. My mom says that I started to tear up a bit and my lower lip stuck out… and I murmured between sniffles, “Gun-gah???” And she caved due to my adorable blue eyes and bright blonde hair. And I got icecream 🙂

I called it gungah for a year. Did me calling icecream by a different name alter or change the fact that icecream was called icecream? No. Bluebell didn’t recall all of its icecream (TOO SOON?) to change the labels from Blue Bell Icecream to Blue Bell Gungah. Just because I called it something different didn’t change the reality that it’s name is icecream. 

Tonight, we talked about identity. And we talked about all the different names we’ve called ourselves in our lives. I’ve called myself plenty of names, very unkind names, things I would never call other people. And when I start calling myself names, it always leads me into a dialogue…erm..argument with God.

“I really messed that up today. I’m a failure.” I said.

“No, you’re my Child and I love you.”

“Failure.”

“My child.”

“Fail…ure.”

“My…Child.”

If I wake up and feel like a failure and call myself that, God’s not going to be like “Oh snap. Thanks for correcting me.  You’re so right, Duh, you are a failure.” No. He’s going to grab my chin, lift it up and say “My child.”

I don’t define who I am, other people don’t define who I am, I am always and forever identified as a Child of God.My favorite song is Cornerstone by Hillsong United. And my favorite part is the last verse.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in HIS righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

No matter what I call myself, no matter what others call me, good or bad, I stand before God dressed in Christ’s robe of righteousness. I stand before God faultless, loved, co-heirs with Christ.

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Colossians 1:22