Top Ten Things I’ve Learned As a Teacher

It is amazing to me how fast the years go by as you get older, and it is even more incredible that a new school year has already started again. After 25 years in the classroom, I have been reflecting on what are the top ten things I have learned as a teacher that I could share with others who perhaps were just starting out in the profession. I also thought about how many of the things I learned in the classroom can also work for parents who have decided to give homeschooling a try. So, without further ado, here is my list in order of ascending importance:

10. Have a sense of humor ( be able to laugh at yourself and don’t take student remarks personally)

9. Always have your plans ready, but be prepared to put them away (and use the teachable moment)

8. Always be honest with your students (they will be able to see through any facade)

7. Use hugs (let your students know how much you value them as individuals)

6. Explore learning styles and use them (bring your lessons to life for all learners)

5. Take trips (experience life outside the classroom. It doesn’t have to be far…outside under a tree, at tables in library or media center…)

4. Have parent meetings (open communication with parents will gain their support)

3. Invite people to your classroom (guest speakers can provide many opportunities for enrichment)

2. Keep in touch with the needs of the students (know your students)

1. LOVE your students! (they are the future)

My advice then is to love your students, love what you do, and know that everything you say and do may be remembered and touch someone’s life. Even the tiniest thing.

For instance, when I was in high school, and I wasn’t even thinking about being a teacher at the time, a girlfriend needed help with her homework. I helped her, and as we sat together, she noticed a necklace I was wearing. She asked me about it.

“Oh, this?” I said, holding up the little glass ball that hung from a chain around my neck. “Inside this charm is a grain of mustard seed.” My friend had never heard the story that if you have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains, so I explained it to her. It only took a minute, and we went back to studying.

32 years later, my girlfriend from high school contacted me via Facebook. We had not seen each other since 1978! We reconnected in person, and one of the first things she told me was that she had always remembered the story I told her about the necklace, and that it had guided her life. I had to think hard, for I had forgotten about that necklace and that conversation until she reminded me of it. When I understood what had happened, I thought about it long and hard. How many little moments have I had in my life as a teacher where I may have touched a life forever and not even realized it?

So love your students and have a great year! Yes, as a teacher, you do touch the future…and even if you are not a teacher, everything you say and do may touch someone’s heart for years to come.

Best wishes for a great school year!

Deborah Hayes

aka HappyEdugator

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