Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things, as a Teacher, I never want to say.

I'm a person who talks a lot. I feel like if you have met me in person and read this you will laugh because-- it almost seems like a ridiculous understatement. It's like saying Lindsay Lohan had a "tiny" public image issue. 

That being said I work really hard at being positive. I'm fortunate to be a fairly positive person however it is something that I can easily get away from if I don't focus on it. 

My purpose in saying this is that I do a lot of listening to other teachers. In some conversations I get quiet I listen and try to breath encouraging words into the conversation. Which can make me seem like Susie Sunshine Rainbow and that may annoy some people but I would rather people be annoyed that I'm positive than be known for spreading negativity. 

I've compiled a list of phrases I try and stay away from. Not to say I've never said them... but I make a point to really try not to. 

1) Some form of: The kids just don't get this. I've taught it but it is just something they don't care about knowing. 

As a teacher I feel it is my job to make kids WANT to learn the information. If they aren't getting it I need to revamp how I teach it. If something isn't working don't just shrug your shoulders-- be proactive!  I'll usually say: "We need to change how we present this because the kids REALLY didn't understand it this year". If it doesn't work FIX IT!

2) Its not my job to be sure that they are taking notes and paying attention.

This one-- I know teachers who defend it and I understand the philosophy behind it... it just isn't one that I practice.  If it isn't my job to monitor them and be sure they are focusing than they might as well be listening to me on a podcast. It is my job to create an environment where my students feel safe to learn and WANT to learn and be successful. I MAKE my kids take notes. I don't care HOW they do it but I make sure that they are. 

After lunch my kids have a problem with wanting to have nap time. What started as me jokingly singing to them "Gotta keep your head up OOOOOO, Gotta keep your head up YEAAAAAH" (not the lyrics but almost), became something we did as a class whenever someones head was down we would sneak attack on them-- pretty funny stuff. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your students learning-- you can't MAKE them learn it, but kids like to know you care about whether or not they "get it".

3) This class is just awful. (Other teacher offers advice or recommends something) No, I mean it's fine I don't need to change anything it's just the kids.

When I have a class that I don't enjoy... I seek out help. I don't want my day to be darkened by any class and I don't want another class to suffer because a class put me in a bad mood. If a class isn't working for you-- figure it out! Find a way to MAKE IT HAPPEN! I challenge you to find a way to make that class your FAVORITE. It will make your day so much better! Talk to other teachers-- ask what they do with their tough classes. 

4) During an inservice where new strategies for working with kids are taught-- shooting down everything with some form of "This would NOT work for my kids"-- cue negative tirade about how yours is the class no one can relate to or fix. 

Okay, don't get me wrong... last training I went to I played Harry Potter Hangman with my friend the whole time (I took this class last summer too). I am not the model student nor do I ever claim to be though I do try and participate when asked to. However when it comes to my classroom I have a "make it work" attitude. How could I "make this work" for my classroom. Instead of doing "X" I could do it with my own spin on it and have the kids do "Y" instead. It doesn't make you sound like a a better teacher to say that you have the impossible class-- it makes you sound arrogant and quite frankly like you hate your job. 

5) I will never have a sign in my classroom that says "Today became great when you arrived".

This one I know I'll get some flack for. I know WONDERFUL teachers who have this in their room and absolutely embody what it says and I LOVE that. However-- I've seen too many teachers who have that in their classroom and don't really feel that way. The sad thing is that the kids see it too. 

I start off every year telling my kids how I came into teaching. How I came into teaching middle school and how much I ADORE this age. I tell them how much I love my job and how glad I am that they are in my classroom. I greet them with a smile and usually dancing at the door. I want my kids to know that Ms Puckett loves her job and is glad to see me without there being a sign to affirm it. I don't judge you if you have it-- I just hope you are living up to it :-)

6) When they do something wrong-- complain about getting caught and how it isn't fair because other people do it all the time. 

This attitude of playing the victim... drives me BONKERS. I don't do everything right. In fact things slip my mind OFTEN. When they do though-- I take responsibility and do my best to remedy it next time. We expect MORE from our students and should therefore expect the same if not MORE from ourselves. 

7) I'm done! If you don't care why should I?

In fact I tell my kids that I'm never done with them. When the school year ends and they ago a little nuts I tell them how much I love teaching and when they don't let me teach it makes my job and our time together significantly less fun. When you tell kids you are done with them... why on EARTH should they care AT ALL if you don't?

Really in all of this-- stay away from negativity. It doesn't make you feel good. Find ONE teacher or good friend to vent to if you really need it. I have a teacher at my school that when I am struggling with being negative I go to her and she listens with a sympathetic ear and offers me ways to fix it or make it better. She doesn't ENABLE my negativity, she empowers me to see the good and find a better attitude. 

I'm sure there are more things I don't like when people say-- but quite frankly I tend to shut out negativity and turn a  blind ear. What are some things you wish teachers would stay away from saying??


  1. I nominated you for a Liebster Award
    Connie Casserly

    I couldn't find any other way to contact you than here.
    I love your points about staying away from negativity. That is so very important.

    1. Thank you so much for the nomination! I look forward to putting together my responses and blogs :-). For someone with only 7 posts and 3 followers it means a lot-- thanks for stopping by!

  2. This is beautifully put. I wholeheartedly agree with you.