Things I've Learned:
* Kids crave consistency and discipline. Even though I was taught this in college, it's hard to believe until you really see it in place and are a witness to how much it affects them!
* You can't please everyone. No matter how hard you work, there is always going to be a teacher, a parent, an administrator... somebody... that is unhappy or expects more from you. You can only do your best and that's it.
* Kids are 150 bajillion% unpredictable. They will never cease to surprise you, amaze you, and take your breath away... While it may not always be a good thing that they surprise you with, it's definitely worth journaling or blogging about so you can look back on it later and laugh. Because you will. :)
* The kids that frustrate you the most, also tend to be the ones that love you the most. It amazes that I can be at complete odds with a student and he can be so angry with me, and then he can turn around and defend me to someone else or rub my back as we walk down the hall asking if the baby is treating me well today. This kind of goes with the above bullet point, but it's a well-learned lesson. Even though this kid frustrates me beyond reason, I know he'll be one I'm worrying about next year when I'm at my new school.
* I will more than likely go without receiving credit or acknowledgment for my hard work, tears, labor, or ridiculous hours. Obviously we don't do what we do for the credit, but it's nice to get when it does finally come around. Just don't expect it.
* Piggybacking off the above "lesson", there will always be a teacher (or teachers) that can't stand that you put in extra hours, create your own units/lessons, go the extra mile and will talk nasty about you. It's hurtful and it causes difficulty when working with those peers, but you have to remember who you are doing all of that for and press on. There will always be someone who is jealous (at least that's what I like to think) of your talents. ;)
* Hugs, kid-drawn pictures, random priceless (meaningless to most people that aren't teachers) gifts, and whispered sweet nothings in your ear are the absolute best thing that can happen to you no matter what kind of day you're having. I can't tell you how many times my day has turned around just by getting a hug in the hallway or classroom, or having a kid shout "I love you!" as they run out the door to catch the bus because I've made that big of an impact on their life. You really can't top it!
* I would much rather read with a group of my kids, have a lively discussion about the differences between a movie and a novel (this was super fun after reading Percy Jackson this year!), or teach/play games than hand out worksheets. Worksheets don't teach you about who your kids really are... conversations, journals, and interactions teach you. Here I am, 4 more days of school left, and I'm still being surprised by the little people in my classroom!
* Lightbulb moments are the absolute most satisfying moments in your teaching career. There is nothing that can even come close to seeing a child finally "get" what you've taught them in a million different ways trying to find that way to make it click for them.
* Sometimes, you have to go against the grain and do what you know is right. I do not care what anyone says: teaching a child how to take the TAKS test is NOT the same thing as teaching a child how to read and truly comprehend and interact with a storyline. I've had to learn to stand my ground (which can be lonely sometimes) and teach my kids using my belief system about reading and creating life-long readers. I don't want my students to leave my room hating books like my husband does! :(
* Kids come from all walks of life with all kinds of experience you can't imagine them having, or missing out on experiences you can't imagine them not having. I have a little boy in my class right now that has incredibly involved parents and a great home life, but is always asking me about zoos and aquariums and I really just want to take him and introduce him to the amazingness that is our zoo!! And the new aquarium that's opening in Grapevine in July!! It's so hard to know things about your students and know that you are limited in what you can do for them.
* I love teaching blogs. It's so nice to know that there are others out there that feel the same that I do about so many things, and that I'm not near as alone as I sometimes feel. Thank you all for your encouragement, generosity, and creativity! Y'all rock!! :)
* No matter how frustrated I get with political crap at school, grumpy parents/teachers, kids and situations I can't change... I can't imagine doing anything else for a living. Because at the end of the day, when I can finally push all that aside and take a deep breath and remember that tomorrow is a new day... I love LOVE love my job!
I could go on for awhile, but I'm going to stop! Go link up and share your lessons!! :)