Sunday, October 24, 2010

Teaching Will Get Easier Every Year They Say

It is not even halfway through my second year of teaching, but it is going so much better already.  This time last year I was already wore out and just swamped with everything going on.  I would have to explain to my students daily why I wasn't doing things like the previous teacher and that the class is dumb now. Mind you  class before me just consisited of operating chainsaws and cutting firewood unsupervised for the majority of the year with some hunter and trapper safety courses and stream monitoring intermingled. I am moving the course content back to agriscience and agribusiness courses.  The students simply did not understand that there was so much more to agriculture that they have been missing out on.

 My mentors and other teaching friends kept telling last year, "Don't worry. Things will be much better your next year teaching."  I have really looked back during the past couple of months and couldn't believe how I survived parts of last year when compared to how much better they are this year.  Here is a comparison of now vs. last year:

Last year - Got hired 10 days before school started with just a couple days to then prepare.
This year - Was able to spend most of the summer preparing units and lessons for this year.

Last year - Couldn't get hardly any students interested in participating in competitions.
This year - We will be participating in our third competition of the year coming up in a few weeks.

Last year - Handed out about 15 detentions by this time last year.
This year - Haven't had to hand out any yet...

Last year - Was staying at school working till 5-6:00 p.m. cleaning and organizing my teaching facility to suit my needs.
This year - Usually leave school around 3:30-4:00 or stay longer for competition practices or other FFA activities with students.

Last year - Staying up late every night scrambing to prepare lessons for the next day and thinking how long I could stretch lessons to have time to prepare more.
This year - Have lessons ready to go and a plan for the remainder of the year.

Last year - Caught off-guard on how fast our annual Fruit Sales and National FFA Convention trip came up.  Found out how much planning and paperwork goes with both events.
This year- Knew what to expect so I was able to have paperwork and sales information ready to go early.

As I explained how things were going for me last year to a couple of my mentors, they told me the following that was very true:

"The college or university you graduate from does not prepare you to be a great teacher. They prepare you with the tools to be a first-year teacher, it is up to YOU to be a great teacher."

I realized how true that statement was at that point last year.  Even with trying to do everything the "right" way from other ag ed teachers and my professors I have talked with, I needed to do things my way and work towards becoming a GREAT teacher in my own way.

So first, second, third teachers or those of you in school preparing to become teachers, I can tell you from my experience and I am sure our older mentor teachers can tell us too, teaching WILL get a little easier every year.

Post by Drew Bender


  1. Good post, Drew. I especially like the part about college teaching you how to be a first-year teacher, but it's up to you to be a great teacher. It's always very helpful to hear from teachers who "survived" the first year, understand where us newbies are at and can vouch for the fact that it will get easier.

  2. Amanda- Any time things got hard, I remembered that quote and that it was up to me to handle the situation and come out stronger in the end. It's too bad more teachers don't share their survival tips, but some things we have to learn on our own. Glad you enjoyed the post.