Personal Challenges

Based on your experience and background, what challenges do you foresee in entering the education profession?

One thing I have learned won’t be an issue is stress from the hectic nature of school. I was standing knee deep in chaos a couple of weeks ago and realized that I had just about gotten to the comfortable operating level of noise and activity that I am so familiar with from trading. I’m not sure that’s a good thing in general, but it does give me great comfort knowing that I won’t break down like Ahnold in Kindergarten Cop. 🙂

Back to the question, there is no particular challenge I see as a problem. I do see a number of areas where I will need to feel my way and be very careful, reflective and flexible as I go.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am still working on discipline. I like an orderly classroom and tend to believe a credible threat goes a long way to preventing its use. But I also believe and have seen the power of positive reinforcement. I’d like to mostly work with carrots but have a (metaphorical) stick handy somewhere, I think.

I do well in class with “boy problem energy.” “Johnny kicked me” is pretty easy for me. But I’ve had several “girl problem energy” situations (“Sally hates me”) which defied all of my normal tools. It’s almost hard for me to describe because it is so alien to me, but I know I will need the extra tools of listening and honoring such a conversation while at the same time not indulging it. And I’ll get better with practice. 

I need to have more numbers between zero and ten. I tend to be more zero or ten as in “This is good”, “This is bad”. I’ll need that both for evaluating my students and, particularly, in discussing those students with their parents. I also tend to have more judgement about those analyses than is productive, meaning I need to have more room for little Johnny to be exuberant or easily distracted or slow to read or whatever. I think an ideal teacher honors where each child is in the class in terms of progress. I tend to have that essentialist impulse to want every child to be where I want them to be.

It’ll be interesting to see how I do in the school social setting. I’ve very pleased with my relationships at my daughter’s school but I’m ‘just a parent’ so the rules and expectations are different. However, I intend to be friendly and cooperative with other teachers and administrators and remember my place as ‘newbie.’

I think that’s about it. My main goal in becoming a teacher is to work with children to prepare them and help them as best I can within the grade level slice I’m given. If I remember that’s what it’s all about, the rest will fall into place, I think.

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