Thanks Cher. But IF I could turn back time as a teacher, would I?
Aren’t we as teachers a forward moving collection of experiences and interactions that congeal to make us the version of ourselves that stands in front of our students today, better at our jobs than we were yesterday?
Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. We are human after all, not martyrs, not superheroes.
I don’t want to turn back time for any other reason than to offer some words of guidance, perspective and humor to let Year 1 Teacher-Me know what Year 17 Teacher-Me has learned.
This is what I got, in my favorite form: bulleted non-ordered list
- The paperwork you thought had to be done before you went home? Leave it.
- Red blinking light signaling voicemail on the way out the door? Ignore it.
- Answering emails before your first class? Don’t do it.
- Learning the kids names before the first day? Do that one. That one matters a lot.
- You won’t have to wear a tie everyday forever.
- People will stop asking you for your hall pass.
- Crying in the bathroom between classes is a phase.
- Coffee is legit your best friend in the morning.
- Going to bed at 9:30 pm is TOTALLY acceptable.
- Keep drinking water and wearing sunscreen.
- There is a lot you don’t know. That won’t change.
- You get to identify as a gay teacher AND keep your job!
- Also people stop asking you about a wife.
- Your band will only play as well as you hear. Put in those GD ear plugs.
- Oboe fingerings are not mysterious.
- You were never meant to play flute.
- There are some pretty exceptional people in the field of music education.
- There are some pretty self-serving people in the field of music education.
- You are good at distinguishing the difference.
- You still have a full head of hair.
- Time away from the job actually makes you better at the job.
- Study your scores.
- You still lesson plan.
- Don’t be an A+ at school and a C- at home.
- You’ll never remember where you park your car but you will remember all the cues for Lincolnshire Posy.
- Did I mention coffee?
- The parents of your students eventually become your age.
- You’ll leave teaching. But then come back. And be happier.
- Don’t apologize for what you believe to be true.
- Let it go. Really. It doesn’t matter that hard.
- It gets harder.
- It gets easier.
- You have bad days.
- You have good days.
- You have days that never end.
- You have days that are done in a blink.
- You can’t save every kid.
- Your influence is not what you think.
- Your influence is not where you think.
- There are successes.
- There are failures.
- You are measured by neither of these things.
What would you add?