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June 28, 2017

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned While Teaching

By Nancy Jang
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    In the 80s there was a series of posters that had “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From...” ending with pretty much everything in the world from “kindergarten” to “dogs” to “vampires.” After my very first year teaching (a LONG time ago), and as part of my final review for the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, I was inspired by the catchy phrase to write a list of all I had learned the previous year. I recently came across this paper again and want to share it with you. Most of these are wonderful guidelines not only for teaching, but for living life.  

    1.     Share! Share your triumphs, your frustrations, and your great ideas.

    2.     Help each other. Help your colleagues with their bulletin boards, photocopying, or picking up materials. What goes around comes around! And in that spirit, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.

    3.     Stay focused. Don’t get sidetracked by people, toys, or other distractions. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you will be.

    4.     Take a break if you need one. Teaching is a consuming job, even after you have left school for the day. Learn how to turn it off. Give yourself the opportunity to read a book for pleasure, garden, go hiking, or get a massage and NOT think about teaching.

    caption

     

    5.     Be prepared. Photocopy items that you need for the week and prepare for a sub by having general emergency sub plans done for each day of the week. Throw it all in a tub with generic reading, math, science, and social studies materials. When you suddenly wake up with a fever or worse, you won’t have to run to school to set up for a sub.

    6.     Be flexible. Sometimes lessons don’t go as planned, or there might be a surprise fire drill planned on a rainy day during an assembly. Stay calm and be flexible.

    7.     Take responsibility. Say you’re sorry if you made a mistake, and know that everyone makes mistakes! Most importantly: LEARN from your mistakes.

    8.     Make the effort to develop your relationships and have a good friend at work. A friend you can count on at work is more than just an asset — it’s a lifesaver. Your BFF at work will lift you up when you’ve had a bad day, will laugh at your “funny kid moment,” listen to you vent, and share her lunch with you when you forget yours.

    9.     Be a problem solver. Don’t complain, but be part of the solution!

    10.   Keep learning. Look for opportunities to keep learning. Maybe it’s getting a master’s degree, attempting to achieve Nation Board Certification, or become a BTSA mentor. Maybe it’s learning to play the ukulele or taking surfing lessons. Whatever it is, it will keep you renewed and enrich your life.

    11.  Challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to fail. Get out of your comfort zone! Apply for the huge technology grant, enter a contest, travel to an exotic country, or present at a conference!

    12.  Be kind. Be kind to your kids, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Remember you are your own worst critic.

    13.  Stay calm. Not very many chaotic situations or difficult problems have been solved by being emotional and reactive. If you can stay calm and think clearly, you are more likely to think of a solution quickly!

    14.  Be brave. Be persistent, be strong, and BE YOU. You never know who YOU will INSPIRE!

    Have a wonderful summer, and Happy (NOT) Teaching!

    Nancy

    In the 80s there was a series of posters that had “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From...” ending with pretty much everything in the world from “kindergarten” to “dogs” to “vampires.” After my very first year teaching (a LONG time ago), and as part of my final review for the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, I was inspired by the catchy phrase to write a list of all I had learned the previous year. I recently came across this paper again and want to share it with you. Most of these are wonderful guidelines not only for teaching, but for living life.  

    1.     Share! Share your triumphs, your frustrations, and your great ideas.

    2.     Help each other. Help your colleagues with their bulletin boards, photocopying, or picking up materials. What goes around comes around! And in that spirit, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.

    3.     Stay focused. Don’t get sidetracked by people, toys, or other distractions. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you will be.

    4.     Take a break if you need one. Teaching is a consuming job, even after you have left school for the day. Learn how to turn it off. Give yourself the opportunity to read a book for pleasure, garden, go hiking, or get a massage and NOT think about teaching.

    caption

     

    5.     Be prepared. Photocopy items that you need for the week and prepare for a sub by having general emergency sub plans done for each day of the week. Throw it all in a tub with generic reading, math, science, and social studies materials. When you suddenly wake up with a fever or worse, you won’t have to run to school to set up for a sub.

    6.     Be flexible. Sometimes lessons don’t go as planned, or there might be a surprise fire drill planned on a rainy day during an assembly. Stay calm and be flexible.

    7.     Take responsibility. Say you’re sorry if you made a mistake, and know that everyone makes mistakes! Most importantly: LEARN from your mistakes.

    8.     Make the effort to develop your relationships and have a good friend at work. A friend you can count on at work is more than just an asset — it’s a lifesaver. Your BFF at work will lift you up when you’ve had a bad day, will laugh at your “funny kid moment,” listen to you vent, and share her lunch with you when you forget yours.

    9.     Be a problem solver. Don’t complain, but be part of the solution!

    10.   Keep learning. Look for opportunities to keep learning. Maybe it’s getting a master’s degree, attempting to achieve Nation Board Certification, or become a BTSA mentor. Maybe it’s learning to play the ukulele or taking surfing lessons. Whatever it is, it will keep you renewed and enrich your life.

    11.  Challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to fail. Get out of your comfort zone! Apply for the huge technology grant, enter a contest, travel to an exotic country, or present at a conference!

    12.  Be kind. Be kind to your kids, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Remember you are your own worst critic.

    13.  Stay calm. Not very many chaotic situations or difficult problems have been solved by being emotional and reactive. If you can stay calm and think clearly, you are more likely to think of a solution quickly!

    14.  Be brave. Be persistent, be strong, and BE YOU. You never know who YOU will INSPIRE!

    Have a wonderful summer, and Happy (NOT) Teaching!

    Nancy

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