New teacher food for thought

It has been a busy fall semester, but my finals are finished and papers handed in – I am done! I might have mentioned before that I substitute full-time while I’m in school. I have amusing stories from substitute teaching, but that shall be saved for another time. Either way, the sub experience is teaching me that there will be good days, and there will be bad days. Subbing has given me the reality of this country’s educational system that my grad classes are not teaching me.

from a 4th grade student i substitute taught

“Too: Ms. A” – from a 4th grade student I substitute taught

Anyway, onto the main point of this post. This semester, I took a class called Secondary Methods. This class taught various things such as writing effective lesson plans and unit plans, and having an effective classroom management plan. At the end of my last class, yesterday, my teacher left us with the following poem:

Teaching is anchored in your past, rooted in memories, bright ones and dark, delicious and putrid.

Teaching is grounded in learning, in being a student for life, in admitting ignorance and fallibility, in making mistakes and learning how not to make them, in always being your own mirror, your own harshest critic.

Your job, starting this very moment, is to craft your practice and practice your craft.

Learn to become the architect of this new universe before you are consumed by the darkness of your own worries.

Remember all of us [previous teachers] who will walk into your classroom, at your sides – like fellow warriors, who have entrusted our lives to your leadership. But be careful not to lean on us too heavily: we are mere ghosts, we cannot hold your weight, not in a universe that is no longer ours.

You must learn to stand on your own, to speak from within yourself, to trust your instincts, trust your memories, trust the power of your student’s voices.

See your students. Listen to them. When they are quiet, warm up their voices, but when they are too loud warm up their work.

Enter your classroom, face your students read their eyes, interpret their expressions, make them like the poems you write.

Remember that just as their lives are in your hands, your life is in their hands. Let them be your guide, let them become the light you lack, let them show you that you are an artist, that you are able to see them in ways others cannot see them.

Go and face this universe. Your universe.

– Faisal Mohyuddin

This is great to have in the back of my mind as I begin my teaching internship next semester. One year to go until graduation!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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