Today during the new teacher meeting, as I was remarking on how helpful teachers were, I also was looking for a diplomatic way of cautioning our new teachers against those who offer well meaning but misguided (and harmful) advice.
I had one such helper my first year, who kept offering advice about classroom management and offering to come into my classroom to work with me. I needed help, but I didn’t think his brand of demeaning and browbeating kids on a continual basis to keep them in line was exactly what I wanted to do. I managed to escape.
Yet barely a year later, I saw a department chair take a new teacher under their wing, with repeated admonishments of “it’s not your fault – they’re just like animals and you can’t control them. We’d be able to teach much better of our administration only had the balls to get rid of them”, and the poor new teacher was eating it up with a jumbo sized spoon.
So, as I was looking for a way of saying this that wouldn’t immediately offend half of our campus, my mouth went ahead and uttered the following:
There are a lot of different styles of teaching, and you can learn from all of them. But if you want to enjoy your teaching experience, I suggest that the best people to take advice from are those that visibly enjoy their job.
In some ways it seems like a no brainer, but in a lot of ways, it seems like something someone a whole lot wiser that I am would have come up with. Now that it’s out there, I think I’ll try to live by that.