By Emily Doughan, SED’16
As a recent twenty-something year old, I often hear about how one day I’ll sound just like mother. I’ll say a lot of the same things she says without even realizing it (–not a bad thing! She’s a great lady. HI MOM). However, fresh off of completing my first full-time student teaching placement, I have realized that I’ve begun to sound just like all of the teachers that I have ever had, using sayings I have heard in the classroom my whole life; now I say them in the same tone my teachers used. Here are my top four favorites:
- “I’m looking for some new hands.”
This one is the best way to extend wait time, arguably one of the greatest tools in a teacher’s arsenal. Every classroom has that one kid who really enjoys running the show. I know I was that kid and needed to be told it would be unfair if I were called on every time. As a teacher, you really need to hear from everyone. A quick, “I’m looking for new hands” lets students who might not be the most outspoken know I’m waiting for them, while at the same time acknowledging the students who always have their hands raised.
- “I will wait” and/or “You are wasting your own time.”
For teachers and students alike, time is so valuable. More often than not, the form of currency between students and teachers is free time. My students knew if they weren’t quiet while lining up for recess, they would have to wait until they were. My time and my students’ time are precious, so when this phrase slips out, we must have something important to do.
- “Put that away or I will put it on my desk”
For those avid “Gilmore Girls” fans out there, remember the episode where Luke Danes says that kids are always sticky because they have jam on their hands, even if there is no jam in their house, and he has no idea how it happens but it just does? Well, I think he was wrong about the jam thing, but I empathize with how he was feeling. In my classroom, my kids were always playing with little trinkets, gadgets, or toys from their pockets! I didn’t even know where they all would come from! So many times, I had to ask students to please put them away because it was distracting to their fellow classmates. What was nice about this experience was it really made me think about how I would introduce a concentration toolbox in my own classroom. It was clear that my former students really needed something kinesthetic to play with while learning. With my own concentration toolbox, I’ll be able to model my own expectations for these toys so that they add to the learning experience instead of taking away from it.
- “Is it an emergency?”
Nothing ruins a lesson better than an ill-placed bathroom break! While my friends with other majors discuss the various frustrations of being an unpaid intern, my contribution to the conversation is, “And then he had to go to the bathroom right in the middle of my lesson!” It’s not the most glamorous aspect of our job but it definitely does matter. My practicum definitely made me consider the importance of scheduled bathroom break time, but emergencies do occur. Let’s just say, I’ve become very good at noticing when a student starts to dance…
I’m pretty honored that I sound like all of the teachers I’ve ever had. Frankly it feels like I’ve made it. Every classroom experience, whether I was in front of the class or sitting at my desk in pigtails, has made me the educator I am today. I’m proud to sound like my teachers. I think it means I’m doing my job.