Beating that new-ish teacher anxiety is hard, or at least I find it hard. Because I'm enjoying the gimmick, here's nine things I used to care about but no longer do. Some of these are kind of duh obvious in retrospect, but it's my journey ok? Don't ruin my journey.

1. Microplanning

Early on I developed a very elaborate ritual for planning. It was exhaustive but necessary. I'd jot down some general ideas and then script out every day of the week. Having used this method for many years I have developed a superhuman ability to plan. I don't need all the references anymore, so I've ditched the redundancy.

2. Microprepping

I got a taste for colorful projects and things at some point, but the supply procurement was a lot of work. Scrounging around for this and that the day before the project was going to kick off. I was always chasing my tail on this. Then I decided the sane thing to do was to create a giant stock pile of project supplies.

3. Being Observed

By far the most nerve wracking process of your early career. From my point of view, I started as a pretender in a foreign industry. I hadn't the smallest inkling of expertise and was extremely worried I had no idea what I was doing. Fighting that internal confidence struggle and having an experienced educator take notes on my moves? Yikes. But I worked through it. I quite worrying about all the little details. If you come and watch me it's 99.999% the same as if you weren't there. I'll keep the group moving and you'll see some high quality learning, but it's no rehearsed performance. This is me.

4. Grading

I played the nitpicking points game for a couple years. It was terrible and time consuming. Taking a step back and being more holistic about what a kid's work is trying to tell me has kept me sane. I'm extremely chill when it comes to grading now. It's such an imprecise science I have no idea how -1 vs -2 could hold up in court.

5. Cursing

My kids say bad words. They're 17 and 18, and they were probably raised by Fawn. I'm not saying I'm a fan of kids dropping f-bombs (or worse), but I'm not going to let it ruin my day. Small redirects usually get this issue to sort itself out. Now, if a kids wants to direct some naughty word at me (which happened once forevvvvvvver ago), that's different.

6. Phones

You may disagree with me here. But I think we lost that battle a long time ago. I understand if you're a situation where you have to enforce strict policies on this stuff. I get it. But after I while I noticed that if I was doing a sufficient job of redirecting and conveying at attitude that work time is important time, the phones are out, but they aren't a problem. Kid checks the time or dismisses a notification, whatever. Think about how your own phone habits have evolved over the last decade and try to imagine going 50 minutes without looking at it 10 times. If I can cut that in half I'll call it a win.

7. Markers Drying Out

I have this little marker bucket that gets fed at the start of every school year. It's filled past the top. By the conclusion there's a good inch and a half of space between the top and the marker level. It happens. It is my all consuming bucket. Except brown and yellow. It doesn't seem to digest those. I think the bucket is like half brown and yellow at this point.

8. Loaning Pencils

Kid needs a pencil I give them a pencil. Sometimes I give it back, sometimes I don't. I used to have one of those systems where they traded their school ID for the pencil. But it was another thing to manage. I kept winding up with stray IDs or forgetting to enforce it. Pencils are cheap. Just take the pencil.

9. Grading Pen Colors

Not for any of those "well, green is a more soothing way of offering corrections" kind of reasons. Just one of those "why did I care about this?" kind of things. I'm really late to the party here, sorry.

Posted
AuthorJonathan Claydon