hey! how did you decide to work with kids (i think i read youre a teacher? apologies if i'm wrong, awful memory lol)? i've been thinking about going to school to become a teacher (high-school age though), but..I dont know! talk to me about it? :)
I’ve spent a lot of my life gravitating toward teaching roles, really. I was martial arts instructor first before going into more academic settings, and the key was really just wanting to do the work.
This means I have to understand concepts and how to break them down in multiple ways until I hit my students’ learning styles. Are we doing it together? Am I using a variety of words when I explain it multiple times, instead of simply repeating the same explanation verbatim? Can I turn this into a story? Can I add any call-and-response to that story? Can I make it rhyme??? (Rhyming helps retention SO MUCH)
Which also means I have to know who gets stressed out the most easily and how to diffuse before it becomes an issue for the entire class. But I also also have to know who doesn’t get stressed out and therefore catered to, because that way leads to well-behaved kids getting ignored, thus teaching them to act out. Fun fact: I’ve never had a kid not listen to simple instructions when I delivered them in my Stitch Voice. I mean, some didn’t follow anyway, because kids, but they sure as fuck listen when you do a silly voice. (Probs not the best for high school, though.)
It means I have to keep an eye on their relationships and see who’s trying to metagame the system (“She’s bullying us!” is pretty rich coming from a pair of girls who cry in completely synchronized unison regarding a smaller child who merely glanced in their direction… but even first graders are smart enough to know that calling someone else a bully is a good way to get the teacher to help them bully that kid). Seriously, keeping an eye on who has friends and who doesn’t is absolutely key to getting a less stressed, better socialized student. Getting just one friend does miracles.
It also means my brain is just happy and alive with “Ooh, ooh, can I do this to explain a concept as a game?” (How to explain non-renewable resources to a group of children: make four groups with a giant piece of paper for each and a bunch of markers with no duplicate colors for each group. Explain that each paper is a city and each time the teams move to the next spot around the table, they are the next generation of that paper city. Explain, if necessary, that the generation after their grandparents was their parents, and the generation after their parents is them; the city is a hand-me-down. Let them draw their city for 2 minutes before switching, and take away the most used marker from each group, judging by color. Have them complete two laps and ask them if things were better or worse at the start or end. Ask what would have made it easier: an erasable white board, replacement crayons? Less than twenty minutes spent on this experiment, and you get an emotional level of understanding. DO NOT GO OVER 20 MINUTES and then do a calm down activity.)
It also also means that I’ve changed the ways I think to accommodate the ways I’ve sworn to talk around my students, honestly for the better: instead of saying things like “I’m getting fat” to myself in a dismayed way, I say things like “my body holds onto energy this way, because that’s how it loves me.”
The absolute worst part of the job is the parts that are not teaching.
Not to mention, the lack of pay is excruciatingly real, and depending on what area/school you’re at, so is the disrespect. And I don’t mean from the kids, I mean from the parents who refuse to believe Little Billy could ever do anything naughty despite Little Billy literally standing right there, cackling. It’s not everyone, thankfully, but when you get a kid who has no sense of what a boundary is, it’s not always despite a parent’s best attempts.
Being a mandated reporter is also, uh. One hell of a thing. You will see shit. And that’s all I particularly want to say about that topic.