Tuesday, June 2, 2009

9 Concessions Teachers Must Make

Concession - The act of conceding or yielding.

1. I can only control what happens in my classroom
The social aspects of school life dominate the hallways and it is going to follow students into the classroom regardless of how prepared I am. Girls will cry about a boy, boys will argue about sports teams. And both of these things will interrupt my plans.

2. There will be bad days
I am allowed to have a bad day, and so are my students. I am not allowed to take it out on my students (although I'm sometimes tempted to make them the proverbial dog that gets kicked), and they shouldn't take it out on me either.

3. Technology is going to fail
The general rule with technology is that when it decides to get sick, it doesn't hiccup. It projectile vomits. When you hand 30 students each a laptop, something is going to go wrong.

4. There will be days with no lesson plans
It's okay to show a movie. It's okay to schedule work days. It's okay to edit and revise. All within moderation, and all at appropriate times.

5. Some kids have more important things to worry about than my homework
I had a student in my room a few years ago that lived in a mobile home that didn't have running water. I have several kids (that I know of) this year whose families have had to answer to CPS. These kids have bigger problems than memorizing poetic devices for my quiz on Friday, and it's just not realistic to think that should be a priority to them.

6. Regardless of my expectations, my students are still just kids
I wrote this blog post about this earlier (which, incidentally, got me thinking about this list.)

7. There is going to be a student in my room that I dislike
I'm a pretty easy guy to get along with, but in life I accept that there will people whose personalities clash with my own. In the real world, I ignore the people. But in the classroom, they are still my students – and they can't be treated any differently.

8. Lessons will not go as planned
I openly admit to my 1st period class that they are the guinea pigs. What I do 1st period and what I do 9th are usually different. Good teachers don't stay the course – they compensate for pot holes and detours along the way.

9. Grades aren't everything
This goes not only for teachers, but for students and parents too. I had a message on my school voice mail last quarter from a parent demanding to know why his daughter's grade dropped from a 96 to a 94. It's the journey that's important, not the destination, right?
Save to delicious Saved by 0 users
Digg Technorati StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo
ma.gnolia squidoo newsvine live netscape tailrank mister-wong blogmarks slashdot spurl

5 Responses:

Techyturner said...

You have summed up my year nicely. As I read each concession I could look back on my year and remember a certain event or two that matched it perfectly. Thanks for the reminder and reality check.

eduguy101 said...

These are great points for all to remember. I will be sharing these timely thoughts with my staff. As stress levels increase this time of year, we all need to find our center once again.

Damian said...

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've said #5 and #6 and have been accused of having low expectations. Part and parcel of working in a high-SES, high-performing district, I guess, but sheesh. I know the old jokes about how kids think teachers don't have lives outside of school, but the more I spoke with other teachers who felt this way, the more I thought there might have been a kernel of truth to that.

Michael said...

The only one I disagree with is accepting days without lesson plans (or some kind of plan). I don't see any excuse for not planning each day as best as one can. I do accept that plans don't work, often affective needs outweigh academics, and kids will be kids. It's cool to be flexible. But at least be ready with some intention each day.

Anonymous said...

In my building, any movie over 15 minutes is a no-no, even if it's directly related to content with rational, standards, etc. What a shame to make such administrators make such a blanket decision on all the great media available.