Hey everyone! My name is Andy Ott and I'm a 2014 SDSU grad. I teach 6th grade in a high needs area in Northwest Oklahoma.
I had a fantastic education at SDSU and it did a great job preparing me for the world of teaching. As a relatively recent grad I thought I had a good handle on this whole teaching thing. I had handled student teaching well and I soared under the tutelage of Mark Kreie at Brookings High. I got to Oklahoma on my own and very quickly realized that my education wasn't over just yet.
Today I'd like to share 3 things I had to learn the hard way, through experience.
1. Classroom Management. I thought I had management down after leaving student teaching. The transition from affluent high school to low socioeconomic status middle school proved me wrong. To be fair to everyone, this is one I'm still working on. We had talked about the 4 types of management during student teaching. I think we all pegged what our "type" was. Little did we know when we hit the real world we weren't going to be just one type of manager but we would need to use all available tools. Most importantly though, engagement trumps everything!!
2. Time. There's just never enough hours in the day. During student teaching I had the luxury of being able to split planning, grading and other tasks with my mentor teachers. Now being on my own it's a juggle to balance grading, planning, and time with loved ones. I've started to play games and do activities with a lot of my sixth graders that give them instant feedback, so that has helped with part of the time issue. For planning help, I beg, borrow, and steal from other teachers. Teachers in my building or on Twitter are great resources for lessons so that you aren't slaving away planning every night. Once you hit a groove though, it does get smoother!
3. The Kids. I might be weird to say the 25 bodies sitting in my room are not my students-they are my kids. I had a great relationship with my kids in Brookings, but these kids are fully mine. Watching them succeed after a struggle, perform a traditional dance at an assembly, or just being able to ask how their weekend was on a Monday morning is the best . It is my favorite part of the job and the reason I drag my butt out of bed after hitting the snooze button 3 too many times after a late night of planning or grading. They will be the best part of the job for you too!
There are the 3 things that I had to learn on my own. I hope there's some helpful advice or at least a fun read.