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Inside Teaching : April 2011
inside teaching | April 2011 10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING 26 When I was invited to write this article I began to reflect on all the things I’ve learnt since I began teaching 33 years ago. I thought about how teaching had changed, how students had changed, how I had changed, how my teaching had changed in that time and how community attitudes had changed towards teachers and schools. Few of the things I’m going to mention will be new to those of you who have been teaching as long as I have. Keep in mind, too, that they’re not in any order of priority. 1PERSIST. Teaching always has been and continues to be hard, challenging work. To those members of our community who think teachers only work from 9:00am to 3:00pm and have 10 weeks holiday, I say, ‘Walk a mile (or should it be 1.609 kilometres?) in my shoes.’ Just when you have been at a school for a couple of years, teach the same year level and subject – and start to think you have a handle on the students and curriculum – things change. The curriculum changes or the debRa SmItH offers advice on persistence, adaptability, professional involvement and much more – but what she really wants to know is, if you were asked to list 10 things you’ve learnt about teaching, what would you write? things I’ve learned about teaching 10 system priorities change or the technology changes, and always the students change. 2BE PREPaRED fOR CHaNGE. The only unchanging aspect of teaching is change. I know many of you will agree that in the past some of the changes haven’t been what you would consider to be the best, for students or teachers, but still teachers have been compelled to implement them. Move with the times, we’re told. There are the fads that come and go, and I have to admit that sometimes I’ve tried to skip a change or two. You know, if you leave it long enough something else will need to be implemented before the other idea is even completed, or you’ll have this sense of déjà vu, like, didn’t we do something like that 10 years ago? Still on change, though, I believe that teaching today is generally producing better informed, more technologically capable and more aware students. 3STaY UP TO DaTE. This isn’t as hard as it sounds because teaching keeps you up to date with today’s youth. I doubt if I would know the slang of texting or wikis or blogs or all the other new technologies if I wasn’t a teacher being dragged into the 21st century by the challenge of keeping up with today’s students.