July 7, 2015

Top 10 Things Teaching Has Taught Me

Good morning y'all!

Today I'm linking up Jamye over at Teach, Talk, Inspire for her Tell All Tuesday Linky.  This week's topic: The Top 10 Things Teaching Has Taught Me!

1) What works today with one kiddo or one class, may not work tomorrow, two weeks, or three months from now.  Has that ever happened to you?  You start a new management system in your classroom that the students love, and three months later the honeymoon period is over and you need something new? Teachers need an arsenal of management and motivation strategies at their disposal.

2) Teachers (as a group) are amazing! Teachers are constantly being given new standards, new curriculum, "new" education jargon,  new technology, new evaluation systems... basically new everything.  And we adapt. We make it work. We put kids first, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and persevere. Not everyone could do this job. #truth

3) Choose your battles. This one is huge, especially if you are working with difficult parents and students. Always evaluate your goal. Ask yourself if your actions will hinder or accelerate you to your goal. For example, go ahead and let students work under their desks upside down or snuggled up in a corner with a clipboard. If they are still completing their work, I say we are all good. I promise the principal won't think you let kids run wild in your room.

4) Be flexible about...EVERYTHING. I found myself singing a lot of "Let it GO" this year.  Plans will change, just roll with it. It will truly all work out in the long run.

5) Leave work at school. This is essential for me during the school year. I stay late 1-2 nights a week to get everything done, but I never take any work home, especially grading. For one thing, I won't do it! I'm absolutely exhausted by the time I call it a night and it's important to have some distance. Now, that being said that doesn't mean I haven't cut out some lamination while sitting on my couch watching Game of Thrones. There is always more you can do.

6) Be yourself. It's easy to read through a scripted lesson and think, "Great! I'll just do that." But be wary. Make the lesson your own. Add your personal flair. You always have to be yourself in the classroom. If you try to be anyone else, the kids will see straight through you. :)

7) Real leadership roles happen organically in the classroom. Okay, don't hate me for this one but I'm not a fan of the "everyone gets a leadership role and rotates" mumbo jumbo. The most successful leadership roles I've had in my classroom came from students stepping up themselves and determining something they could do and wanted to do. For example, I had one student last year that LOVED animals and was a total expert. He came to school one day and asked if he could share an animal fact during morning meeting. The next day he came with another fact. This continued for a week. After a few days, I asked him if he wanted this to be his classroom leadership role - sharing interesting animal facts with us each day. This child thrived in this leadership role! By the end of the year, he was coming in each morning prepared having seriously thought it all out. He drew pictures on the board to provide students with a visual example, asked questions to engage the class before his fact, and even choose a theme for different weeks. He owned it and he rocked it. That's leadership.

8) Change is a good thing. Don't be afraid to change grade levels or change schools. You learn so much from being in a new environment and it makes you a better teacher.

9) Ticonderoga pencils are the best! There is simply nothing that compares and it is the only pencil I will use.  I'm a total pencil snob.

10) Always do what's best for your kids, not your benchmark scores or your planning guide. I think this is something every teacher knows and believes, but sometimes it is hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, especially when you are feeling pressure from administration or parents about scores. Stay true.  We got this!

Oh wow, and that's ten! I probably could have kept going.  :) I'm fairly certain I learn at least 10 more things every year. Teaching is definitely the profession of learning. Hop on over to Teach, Talk, Inspire to see what other educators have learned over the years and share your own thoughts in the comments section below. Can't wait to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by and happy teaching and learning!


  1. I love the "change" one. I'm learning that this year and I am considering moving closer to home. Change is always scary. :) I love the story of your sweet little one coming each day with his interesting animal fact! So cute and such a great idea!!
    Yee-Haw in Kindergarten

  2. Hi Amanda!
    I love number 10! I totally agree. The first half of the year my students' test scores look horrible because I'm teaching the things they need. By the end of the year, they've caught up and scores look so much better. We have to do what's best for our kids and the rest will fall into place.

    Made with Love

  3. Hi Amanda! I love your list, it was so much fun to read and all so true. Number 6 really resonated with me because I see that all the time especially when a school uses a district mandated curriculum. You have to infuse yourself into every lesson and make it your own. If you don't how will your students get to know you?! Thank you so much for linking up with us and sharing your ideas!

    Teach Talk Inspire


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!