This August, we’re working to help teachers across the country get ready to go back to school! We can’t think of a group more deserving of our support. Whether they’re leading the class in a lesson or chasing after kids at recess, these educators can’t let anything slow them down. We reached out to Fairfax County, VA teacher Isabel Smith to hear about her experience firsthand!
I started teaching three years ago. My first year I taught kindergarten but for the past two years I’ve taught second grade and that’s what I’ll be teaching this fall. Teaching lower elementary grades involves a lot of movement: circulating around the room to conference with kids as they work, kneeling down to eye level to have a conversation, getting up and down from sitting on the floor, etc. It’s pretty rare that I’m just sitting in a chair, unless I’m doing a read aloud or meeting with small groups for guided reading. This is one of the things that drew me to teaching — I had worked in an office before and I just can’t stand to sit at a desk all day! So beyond the mental energy required to be a successful teacher, it takes a lot of physical energy as well. I really believe the kids feed off of your energy so if you’re really languid and unenthusiastic then they will be too.
I think the most demanding part of teaching is meeting the needs of each individual student. Regardless of class size, no two children are exactly alike so you really have to get to know them well and be super analytical in thinking about how you can best teach each one of them. A strategy that works for one kid might not make sense to another so it requires a lot of planning and also quick thinking.
Comfort is probably the most important factor in what footwear I choose to wear to school. I’ve got to be kind, enthusiastic, understanding, and a million other things that would be hard if my feet are hurting. I definitely made the mistake of wearing uncomfortable shoes to school when I first started teaching but I quickly learned that it’s just not worth it. I don’t want to be thinking about how my feet feel when I’ve got to take care of my students….I don’t want to be thinking about anything except them!