How do you keep from being cynical when teaching in K-12 or public schools?
A lot of reform movements seem to sweep through public education, movements of varying quality and scope. There are a lot of competing forces trying to influence the classroom. How do you keep from becoming cynical or losing your fire for teaching?
This is a great question! There are alot of different policies, programs and reform movements that come and go through public education. It can be hard to not become discouraged or cynical at times. Especially when it comes to things that may affect you personally. The most important thing to remember is that you are there to teach the students. They are your main focus no matter what is happening around you. The students should always feel supported and engaged. Whatever you may be personally feeling should never come into the classroom. Your students will feel your emotions and can feed off of them. Keeping focused on making well-round and caring citizens of the future. #teaching #k-12-education
You need an excellent teacher prep program, experience, and compassion. Many colleges provide incredible teaching programs. A few of the best in the nation are Johns Hopkins University, NYU, and UConn
Teaching involves a number of different skills and qualities. I would say the most important are:
- People skills - being friendly and working well with others. You will need to be personable, caring, kind, friendly, compassionate, and understanding. These qualities make a great teacher. But you also need to be stern and firm in your directions, rules, and discipline
- Public speaking - every day in your class you will need to be able to speak and present information to your students, practice speech, and practice fluency of language and talking in front of others
- The subject you plan to teach - become a master of the subject you plan to teach, make sure you know as much as possible and learn as much as you can about the subject you plan to teach. Take as many classes as possible in this subject and learn everything you can about it.
- Psychology & Human Development - start reading books and research articles on human development and psych. It will be helpful for you to know how people learn at different stages and the best ways to teach them at these stages (depending on stage of development and schema).
Questioning, being cynical, losing your fire are all part of the process of being a lifelong learner - a person every teacher should be. Yes, there are competing forces that could make you wonder what you should do, which do I put first, how does the reform help me ..... You will feel the challenges of teaching and have lots of times when you are wondering about your career. That's actually really good - We teach ourselves in education to be reflective. Turn the burner up on your fire when you see yourself being cynical. Remember why you are a teacher ..... hold onto your initial dreams and hopes .... they will carry you over the rough waters.
And as Meridyth said .... really great question!
The teachers I've met and worked with choose not to be cynical but to focus their energy on the very many positives of helping to teach our future generation. We all have the ability to react to various situations according to our own values. At the end of every day, think about all the good things you were able to do.
With every good wish!