Back when I was a little girl, as young as six years old, it was common for me to play “school” at my home. I would always be the teacher, wrangling any family and friends that I could, to play with me. I was quite the teacher as a child- I would make worksheets, seating plans, and spend many hours “teaching” in front of a whiteboard. Back then, I had a pretty good grasps on the basics. However, I never had 24 people watching while I taught when I was younger.
At university, professors have given me many different strategies to use for teaching content to students. The professors would demonstrate the different teaching strategies, and then we would practice in front of our colleagues. Although this was good practice, adults in university are just not the same as Grade 2/3 students! With some practice under my belt, I went into the classroom confident that teaching would be a breeze. I’ve been doing it since I was six, for goodness sake!
Well…I was wrong. It turns out that Grade 2/3 students have a LOT more energy than the drained university students in my classes. Instead of just having to focus on the teaching strategy, and pretty much not at all on classroom management at university, I had to adapt to being able to do both at the same time. Teaching is not just making a lesson plan, choosing a teaching strategy to use, and then delivering the content. It’s that plus so much more. There is 24 different children relying on you to teach them everything they will take with them through their lives. And, unfortunately, not all students are excited to learn.
I realized very quickly that the students have no problem distracting their classmates while the teacher is talking. Therefore, multi-tasking between teaching the content and making sure all students are paying attention was a skill I needed to work on very quickly. Thankfully, after practice, I was able to develop this skill. This will be something that I will work on throughout my entire career, because each classroom will be different. I will need to use different strategies year-to-year with my students. Luckily I practiced the teaching part when I was six, I was able to get a head start on that!