Last week my students and I said our final good-byes to the last of our college interns in Kindergarten. During this year I have had the pleasure of connecting and working alongside 5 amazing, collaborative, engaging and inspiring people who have challenged my thinking, supported my students and have been open to being transparent in their practice which has led to some deep, reflective conversations which have benefited all students.
One of my interns had a set of interview questions for me in regards to teaching culture, etc. One of the questions was about what advice would I give to someone pursuing a career in education and what would I recommend that they do. I have continued to think about this idea for awhile now because it is really important for new people thinking about a career as a teacher.
So this is my advice……
1. Care, care a lot. You will be able to make a difference for many if you have empathy and perseverance. Take the extra time to be patient and listen. Notice how your students react and interact with each other and the culture you create and design. Be responsive and flexible to making changes that support your students need. Collaborate to make a difference for others in the communities you teach. Through your modeling of caring, your students and their families will become engaged.
2. Be passionate. Celebrate the learning that is happening inside and outside of your classrooms. Express your excitement through your face to face, online and other opportunities that you create. Through your passion, your students will get inspired and become passionate about their learning explorations. Remember to dance, laugh and sing.
3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge your thinking. Remember as a teacher you have lots of opportunities to learn and interact. Think about how you and your students might learn alongside each other. Look for others who are doing creative and innovative things. Through others ideas, you develop your own inspiration and find your voice. You have the ability to be brilliant and make a difference.
4. Connect, connect, connect. Develop your PLN! This is vital and very important. This is where your thinking is challenged and you will connect in many ways that will turn into future collaborations. Through your connections you will develop a group of people, who like you, care, want to make a difference and are willing to make changes that improve their teaching practice. Your PLN is always there. Count on them and lean on them when you need support, want to celebrate, collaborate and need inspiration. Join online communities that promote and engage what is important to you.
5. Be transparent. It is okay to share what you are thinking and why. Through your transparency you will invite others in and share your perspective. Think about asynchronous and synchronous tools that can share the learning you and your students are exploring together. Information is important for all of us. Make it meaningful and interactive. Through your explicit modeling of sharing globally, your audience will be broad and you will connect and others will benefit from your ideas as you will be inspired by theirs.
6. Be well. Remember that what you do for your own personal wellness is important. Your wellness of mind and body gives you stability, strength, endurance and patience. Exercise and healthy eating keeps your mind and body healthy and active. Be sure to pursue your passions that recharge you and make you feel energized. Positive energy is contagious and helps everyone be successful.
I want you all to know that it has been my privilege and honor to have you in Kindergarten. I have learned from all of you and I thank you for your daily energy that you shared with all of us. I wish you all the best in your future experiences in education. I hope you will discover the magic in working with children. We need people like you, who care, ask questions, connect and smile.