On January 11th, I started my student teaching placement. I was so excited to begin the final step in my journey towards graduation. Feeling completely prepared by my academic courses and field experiences, I walked into that classroom with such confidence. Little did I know, I was going to learn so much more than I ever thought I would in the first month of being in the classroom.
1. Getting dressed up every day gets old fast!
I mean honestly, did you really think that having to put a serious effort into what you wear every single day was going to be fun or easy? C’mon, you know you wish that you could just roll out of bed and head out in your pajamas like you did for the last three and a half years of your college career. You’re going to start running out of options quickly and it’s going to get frustrating.
2. Sometimes your students just don’t care about what you’re trying to teach them.
You just spent so much time and effort planning your lesson because you were super excited to teach this topic to your kiddos, right? Now you’re standing in front of them and a handful of them are completely checked out. This is going to happen on occasion because certain topics just won't interest some of your students. The challenge is to get those uninterested pupils, well, interested!
3. You should expect the unexpected.
That sounds a lot like an oxymoron, right? Truth be told, the chances of something unexpected happening on a daily basis are pretty high. I mean, think about it. The fire alarm, a pop-up assembly, a child getting sick in the middle of your lesson; there are so many things that can throw your entire plan for the whole day off. Just remember…you have to just roll with it!
4. In the eyes of your students, you’re old, really old!
I don’t think I have to explain this one. Just face facts, you’re getting up there.
5. You are now a broken record.
Again, this is pretty self-explanatory. You are going to repeat everything you say at least three times. It might be in your best interest to record yourself beforehand so you can just hit play over and over and over again.
6. What time of day your students get a little rambunctious.
I can guarantee that this exact time of day just popped into your head. This is the time that no matter what day it is, your students will flip some little switch in their brains and there is no putting an end to the chaos that has now taken over your classroom.
7. You will not be everyone’s favorite teacher.
This is probably the saddest realization you will have. There will be those couple of students that just don’t like you as much as you would like them to. It could just be a clash of personality or some underlying reason, but you have to accept that this is just part of the job.
8. You are not going to have all of the answers to your students’ questions.
You are going to be teaching a lesson that you have taught countless times and a little hand is going to pop up. Instinctively, you will call on that student and they will ask you a question that leaves you like a deer in headlights. You will be stumped in front of your whole class and there is a good chance you’ll be panicking on the inside. Just remember to breathe and it’ll all be okay.
9. You are going to have amazingly perfect days and you will have horribly awful days.
Some days you are going to leave school and have a huge smile on your face because the day just went so well. Some days you are going to leave school and want to cry for hours because the day was just such a mess. Both of these are perfectly normal and will occur frequently. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day.
10. Learning all of those students’ names isn’t as hard as you thought it would be.
Seeing all those new faces that first day was probably one of the scariest things you’ve gone through, but it probably only took you a week to get all those names down. Pronouncing them was probably the next big challenge, huh?
11. How much standing up in front of young minds makes your heart smile.
Being in the classroom every day with this group of children could make your heart smile if it had a face. You just get so happy seeing your students’ faces when they finally get what you’re teaching them. You can’t help but die a little on the inside when your “problem student” finally starts to behave for you. You realize that this is 100% what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.