Now a senior, there are some things I wish I would have known as a new student in the Mckay school from the very beginning. I remember on that first day of ElEd 302 (the beginning class for teaching management techniques) my professor, Dr. Losser said that though we would learn some wonderful techniques, all that knowledge would be forgotten once we got into the classroom. At the time I laughed and thought, “I hope not.” Little did I know how true that statement could become. Here are some things I wished I would have known or at least anticipated better before starting my first year.
I wish I would have known how difficult it would be to remember best management practices. In the elementary education preparation classes we are taught to use proximity, positive praise, and private warnings. Though these are all simple practices to follow, it is easy to forget them when a child is acting out. I wish I would have known that there were going to be days when I would forget the techniques I was so explicitly taught. I guess that is why experience is the best teacher.
I also wish I would have known how to effectively set up a classroom. Part of me really wishes there was a “How to…” class so other elementary school teacher educators like myself could learn the most effective way to set up a bulletin board, where to buy the best school supplies, when to spend money on school supplies, and how to set up a classroom. On the other hand, I know that I would not have been as invested in making my classroom my own if I only used other ideas. Deep down, I am so glad I was given the opportunity to try again and again to make my classroom an attractive and safe learning environment.
Finally, I wish I would have known that there are going to be many mistakes made and that is alright. While I was listening to my professors talk about their experiences in the classroom, I imagined that I could be like them. However, I didn’t realize that they too had to go through the daily stress, wear, and work that all teachers have to go through. Nobody starts out perfect, and I shouldn’t have expected I could start perfect either. I’m learning that perfection takes time, effort, service, and practice–LOTS of practice! It’s exciting, knowing that I can improve and while I wish I would have known more before entering the field, I’m glad I’m learning through doing now!
What do you wish you could know about the major, or for those of you who are alumni, what do you wish you would have known? I would love to hear your thoughts.