Welp…you’re talking to a 41 year old now.  Why does 41 seem SOOOOO much older than 40?  I suppose it’s because no one has patted me on the back and given me a surprise 41 year old party…yet!  Ha!

Really, it doesn’t bother me to get older – it’s just that number…it seems so boring!

Okay – I’m changing my attitude about 41 right now!

So, in honor of my 41st birthday, I created a list of 41 Things That I Know For Sure About Teaching…what do you think?

  1. It doesn’t matter what kids you get, it’s your job to teach them
  2. If you think you always get the “bad kids” – the problem is you
  3. If you think you always get the “low kids” – the problem is you
  4. If you always get a “fantastic” class – that’s because of you, too!
  5. Kids will do anything we ask (kindly and firmly) and require them to do
  6. It all comes down to teach/model/practice/apply when you want kids to master ANYTHING
  7. Spending too much time on “learning styles” and “modalities” is a waste of time – excellent teachers (ones who get results) stand on their heads to get kids to do things if that’s what it takes
  8. The best time spent?  Lesson planning and preparation
  9. The difference between lesson planning and preparation is this: planning is what you want to teach and preparation is determining what it will look like when you teach it
  10. My kindergarten class thought I really played guitar when I played air guitar during our morning song and I didn’t correct them
  11. You chose teaching – if you don’t like it, then leave
  12. Class size doesn’t determine whether your kids learn – you do
  13. Enthusiasm trumps skill a lot of the time
  14. But skill ultimately matters when you want kids to master the content
  15. Teaching reading is tough
  16. But so is complaining about the kids who can’t read
  17. Teacher style (of teaching) is totally overrated – lecture just isn’t successful whether it’s your style or not
  18. The kids listen when you’re talking to your colleagues…say nice things
  19. The teacher’s lounge can be the perfect place to catch a bad attitude
  20. Worksheets don’t teach kids…I promise
  21. When teachers say things like, “Oh, wait ‘til you get THIS group next year!” – pretend to have a coughing fit and run away…it’s a bunch of hooey
  22. The data honestly, truly doesn’t lie
  23. If your kids aren’t improving, the issue is probably your teaching
  24. The good thing is that if your teaching is the cause of poor performance, you have 100% control over whether it gets fixed
  25. Parents do the best they can
  26. If parents all knew how to teach their kids, then you’d be out of a job, so be thankful that they have little clue as to how to teach their kids
  27. Kids learning to read or being successful in school should never boil down to whether they were read to/read 30 minutes a night – that’s a cop out
  28. The assessments that kids take are the minimum requirement – “passing” them should be the least of our worries
  29. Teach as many grade levels as you can – the perspective is awesome
  30. Commit to reading one professional book a month – you can do it by reading about 15 minutes per night…you will be the best read teacher around
  31. Greet your kids at the door so they come in with purpose – 90%+ of your behavior problems start the second they come through the door
  32. If you don’t like teaching, get out – – wait, did I already mention that one?
  33. One hundred percent of the public’s/parent’s/community’s perception of teaching comes from you – paint yourself in the most awesome light
  34. You have total control over the things that get results on the assessments: classroom management, instructional pacing, preparation, planning, delivery of instruction, engagement and reflection
  35. Sit in front during professional development – the day flies by
  36. When you attend professional development, go up afterward and ask the presenter a question – you never know what could happen!
  37. At the end of each day, review with kids what went well and what they need to change for tomorrow – they get a second chance at doing things well tomorrow
  38. When you tell students to “stop” doing something, you’ve got to give them an alternative or a “start” to take its place
  39. If someone tells you that kids who struggle to read “just need to read more,” tell them to take a hike
  40. Instructional minutes matter
  41. You can decide right now whether or not this will be the best year of teaching ever