What They Don’t Teach You

Hi!! Yes, I am here!! I am back!! I went on this “too long to even think about how long it’s been since I’ve last blogged” hiatus. BUT HELLO AGAIN, I am MissDeclaireing Happiness and I am back to deDECLAIRE what I have been up to for these past couple of months: school. However, this time, school in a totally different sense. After being the student for 17 years, I am the teacher. As many of you know, this has been a dream of mine for forever and it’s still so surreal that it is now a reality.

I’ve wanted to be a teacher ever since second grade. I had the BEST second grade teacher who showed me how much she cared, made lessons exciting and interactive, and was a great role model (If you’re reading this Ms. Peña, you’re the best!!). Ever since second grade, I have involved myself with all activities and things that would get me “teacher-prepared”: babysitting, drama teachers, Child Development classes at the high school, tutoring, and becoming an elementary education major. My university courses were SO exciting! Classes that discussed school curriculum, how to manage your classroom, and allowed you to reflect on the best teaching practices… count me in!!! Upon graduating, I felt SO ready.

Now, I am still feeling ready, but reflecting back on the 20 days with students, I feel as though there were things that I was not taught in my university classes. These skills and concepts are things that I feel like can never be taught, but have to be experienced. I decided to compile a list of “what they don’t teach you”! IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO GRADUATE THIS SEMESTER OR NEXT AND START YOUR OWN CLASSROOM, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME ASAP BECAUSE I HAVE MORE I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU:)

1.) They do not teach you how to balance your time! As a first year teacher, I feel as though I am behind if I am not continually thinking of school. I wake up early to go to school, I go to school, I use plan time and lunch to plan things for my students, I stay at school late, I come home and still think school, eat dinner, work some more on school, and then do it all over again the next day. I have learned that if I do this all day everyday… I’ll wear myself out!! Slowly but surely, I’m learning it’s totally okay (and honestly best) to not always think about school. I have loved eating lunch with my team, setting aside time to make dinner and chat with my dad, and taking some relaxation time to watch trashy TV shows with Joel lol. I am still giving my students 15028392% even though I am not thinking about school all the time. You need to take care of you so you can be at your best to give your students the best!

2.) They do not teach you that…you will have an amazing team and support system at school that will help you every step of the way…SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!!!! They will not know how you’re feeling if you are not expressing or sharing it! My teammates and colleagues are AMAZING. They are always eager to help, let me vent to them, and making me laugh!! I do NOT know where I would be without the amazing staff.

3.) They do not teach you…the motto “assume nothing, teach everything”. I was not introduced to this motto until my third day of teaching and I wish I knew about it sooner. In my university courses, I did learn that the first couple of weeks are so crucial in establishing a routine, but I did not realize all the routines you need to establish. I would think, “oh my students know how to line up” or “oh my students know how to walk in the hallway”, but that little motto proved me wrong. Since that day, I have made sure to always set expectations and provide clear directions so students know how they should be acting. Not only does this apply to routines, but to any content area! It’s important to not assume students know how to do things and to see what their background/prior knowledge is. I think I might frame that on a sign for next year lolololololol

4.) They do not teach you…about how much you will learn in the first month! I have learned SO much about my students–their likes, dislikes, personalities–, my school–the names of my colleagues, the Chromebook cart code, how to use Outlook Mail–,and myself as a teacher. My students have already taught me so much these 20 days, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel at the end of the year. I can tell you for a fact I’ll never forget this first year and this first class. They will definitely always have a place in my heart.

So moving forward I want my family, friends, strangers, and all you soon-to-be teachers that I am doing just fine!! We have our days–good and bad–but I still wouldn’t change my profession for the world. Thank you for patiently waiting on my teaching journey! I appreciate all of you ❤️❤️

-Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

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