Managing Your Expectations About Teaching and Yourself as a Teacher

Of course you knew teaching wouldn’t be exactly how it looks in the movies, or perfectly match the scenarios you studied in college. But sometimes? Wow. Just. . . wow. Here’s a somewhat depressing word cloud. It’s from a 12-page set of responses to a survey that used to be part of my email series, The New Teacher Disillusionment Power Pack. These were responses that fell into the general category of “coming to terms with what teaching is and who you are as a teacher.” (You can scroll down and click on the graphic to see it better.)

In See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers, there are several different chapters that correspond to the concerns above. These are also topics that come up—in a more targeted and personal way—in sessions of See Me After Class Office Hours. Not every problem is as serious as it feels in the moment. And not every problem has a solution. Sometimes you just need to talk about a situation in your classroom in order to gain enough critical distance to get you back in to work tomorrow.

Making (and Sometimes Faking) Your Teacher Personality

People constantly tell you to choose your battles in teaching. What they don’t tell you is that some of the battles not worth fighting are with yourself. As a teacher, you maybe already have learned the hard way that weaknesses in your personal life can carry over to your teaching. The good news is that your skills and strengths carry over, too. A session of Office Hours can help you identify your natural strengths and build a teaching style that uses those strengths to work around weak points.

Talking Through a Moment You’re Not Proud Of

You didn’t choose this career expecting an easy paycheck. You never hoped to make students feel discouraged, disinterested, or disrespected. You never planned to fail. Chances are, you hoped to be part of the solution to what’s wrong with education. Understandably, your worst days are those that make you feel like part of the problem. The truth is, every teacher has these days, and not every mistake can be unmade. But if you can let go of the idea that things should never be broken, you can be a role model for practicing the art of repair. And while you’re figuring out how to do that, it helps to talk to someone who doesn’t work for your district, answer to your principal, or eat lunch in your teachers’ lounge.

Making Next Year Better

How do you know if you’re not meant to be a teacher, if you just need a nap, or if the truth is somewhere in between? Making mistakes in the classroom or crying on your way home from work are not necessarily signs you’re not meant to be a teacher. Even wondering if you’re really meant to be a teacher doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not meant to be a teacher. But at what point are you not meant to be a teacher? How do you know if switching schools might solve your problem, or if you’re just a few classroom changes away from enjoying your current job? No one can answer these questions for you, but I have some tools to help you think through the possibilities and make the best decision possible. As the end of the year rolls around, you may want to discuss how to apply the lessons of this year and how you can carry them through your future career in the classroom—or outside it.

If you’d like to discuss any of these topics in a way that is specific to your own classroom, you can also book a session of Office Hours using the calendar below.

Simply choose one of the options below and click the “Book Me” button to select an available time from the calendar. If you experience any technical difficulties, you can also try this direct link to the booking page.