One of the best sites on the Internet is the fabulous Quora.com.
Quora works by having the community ask and answer questions. When you want to know more about something, Quora delivers you answers and content from people who know the answer – like real doctors, economists, screenwriters, police officers, and military veterans. There’s questions and answers galore on every sort of subject.
To whet your appetite we respectfully share some questions and answers from the Teaching topic. You’ll find more at https://www.quora.com/topic/Teaching
First, you’ll see the questions. Then the person who provides an answer including how many views that answer has produced. Thirdly, there’s the answer itself. We’ve left out the last section where people can upvote, downvote or add comments to the answer. If you’re interested in using Quora then go to https://www.quora.com/Quora-How-do-I-get-started-using-Quora to get more of an idea!
Here’s a sample of questions and answers concerning teaching.
Leeon Goldman, teacher for over 20 years…and loving it.
It was my first year teaching.
It was Grade 1 and in the middle of the semester a student had transferred from a different school. This child had major issues and I made it a point to work with this student and turn him around. For 6 months I dedicated myself to this child. I went out of my way to differentiate the learning for him, support him emotionally and showered him with love.
One day we were having an informal session and doing some arts and crafts. The new student went over with scissors and completely destroyed another students work. I must have been up late and lost it with this student. I yelled at him and gave him some punishment. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. It was Friday with a long weekend ahead.
I was so upset with myself. On my drive home I kept thinking of how I had blown it. How all my efforts to harness the positive energy in this child will now be lost. I resolved to apologize to him on the next day back at school.
Later that evening the doorbell rang and standing at my front door was my dear student with his mother. I was sure that she was going to give me a good telling off but instead the boy reached out and said “we baked this for you…have a good weekend.” I thanked them very much and wished them a pleasant break.
There was an envelope on top of the cake. I opened it and read the following words.
“Dear Mr Goldman, I love you…I hope you still love me too.”
I am forever indebted to this student who taught me the power of love. That the only way to affect someone is when you genuinely invest your love and care into them.
I’ve seen some research on parent styles that does not teach the concept of ‘no’. How is this done? What are the alternatives?
Shulamit Widawsky, Mental health professional, and mother.
You don’t say, “No running” you say “You must walk” instead.
You don’t say, “No, you can’t have this” you say “You may only choose from these.”
“Mommy, I want to go out and play with my friend.” “I’m sorry honey, right now you need to eat your dinner. You can play with your friend after dinner or tomorrow.”
There are good reasons to reduce the number of times we say a concrete “No” at our children, but avoiding it entirely seems faddish to me.
The best two good reasons to reduce how often we say “No” are:
- Children will tend to do what we say, so if we say, “No hitting” they hear the word “hitting” and will gravitate to it. If, instead, we say, “Play nicely,” that is what they hear, and gravitate toward.
- By reducing the frequency of actually saying “No” it maintains a kind of power, so that when it is used, it is understood to be about something important, rather than losing most meaning by diluting it in a sea of “No’s” spoken twenty times in a given day.
Seb Lo, Physics Teacher
What I write here applies to most public schools in the United States.
School days are similar in length to work days in other jobs. However, teaching will give you less flexibility in the day than many other white collar jobs. When you are teaching a class, you are responsible for the students in your class. You can’t go to the bathroom or get coffee whenever you want the way you can in other jobs.
I teach 3 classes back to back; in past years I have taught 5 back to back on certain days. This means no bathroom breaks for 2–4 hours.
Depending on the schedule of your school you will teach between 3 and 5 classes a day, typically totalling about 3.5 hours in a class managing students. The rest of the time will be related teaching work, duties and, of course, lunch.
Related teaching work includes:
- Writing lesson plans (depending on your school this might be a large part of your time)
- Getting materials together for class (lab materials, photocopies etc.)
- Communicating with parents
- Co-ordinating school activities (field trips, assemblies, clubs, parent meeting, etc.)
- Updating curriculum
Duties typically include hall duty, lunch duty, bus duty etc. (generally to ensure student safety in these various places, but also to make sure there isn’t a mess made or students loitering when they should be in class.)
Depending on the school, teachers are also expected to fulfill other roles. Coaching, leading professional development, run clubs, give extra help, etc.
Many details of what a teachers life is like varies depending on parents, administration, size of school and type of school (elementary, middle, high).
In direct response to your question about predictability, it depends. A well run school will typically be more predictable, with less chaos, fewer fights and fewer emergencies. Class predictability depends on what sort of students you have and may depend on age and level. AP classes are typically more predictable because students are there to learn and are generally mature. A kindergarten class will likely be very unpredictable (bloody noses, accidents etc.).
Social life at school will also depend on who your co-workers are and whether they are interested in collaboration or socializing outside of school. A teacher’s experience can vary drastically even within a school.
Last thoughts: I don’t know anyone who likes lesson plans. Especially as a new teacher, expect to spend more time preparing for lessons than teaching them.