Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Twenty years flew by, What I have learned after two decades of teaching.

Twenty years flew by, What I have learned after two decades of teaching.

The last twenty years of teaching flew by, it seems like yesterday when I walked into my first classroom.  This was while I was in graduate school, I was teaching music fundamentals.  It would be great to say that I was a perfect teacher from the start, well that was not true. 

That first day I stammered so much I was shocked to see the class come back to the next class.  I knew the material like the back of my hand, music theory was as simple as breathing for me, I just needed to breathe and slow down.  I slowed down, and the class learned music fundamentals.

That is my biggest tip for a young teacher, the less you teach, the more your students learn.  As a teacher, I bet you know what you are teaching, and you want to share that with your students as fast as you can.  Remember, it took you years to learn the subject you are teaching.  Give your class time to absorb that information.  Short lessons that make your class ponder over a topic are stronger than giving a ton of material and thinking you did well because you covered so much in such a short period of time.  Less is more.

Also, remember you are human, you can make mistakes and learn from them.  Our failures are the most profound lessons any of us can learn.  Do not be afraid of failure.  If you have a bad day of teaching, go home, reflect what you did and what you could do to improve the next time you teach that subject.  Just knowing your material does not mean you know how to explain or teach it.  When you see confused looks, do something about it.

Finally, as a teacher, you are a lifetime learner.  I take classes all of the time.  It gives me empathy when I take a course of something that is foreign to me.  Not every student learns in the same manner as you, students learn in many different styles.  Learn ways to convey your subject using different methods.  Time moves on, just because you have been teaching the same subject, in the same manner, year after year, does not mean it will work forever.  When I first started to teach, I did not have a laptop, data projector, the Internet, or any of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) that we have now.  As they entered the vernacular, I added them in my lectures and teaching styles.  

Think twenty years ago, no one had cell phones.  Now all of your students have them!   Back then, I was still on dialup internet!  Times change, so should your teaching.  Use what works for you, disregard the rest.   

Every day I am thankful that I get to teach.  I love teaching!  Twenty years flew by, here's to another twenty years of teaching!! 


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