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Growing into Teaching: Understand the Importance of Readiness


This is the third in a series of 10 lessons retired teacher Tom Krause says every new teacher needs to learn to grow in the profession. 

Welcome to teaching! You are now part of a profession solely dedicated to helping students of all ages learn. It is a profession where the more you give, the more you get in return. Most famous people are eventually forgotten, but teachers live on in the hearts and minds of their students.

First you need to learn the rules and operating procedures of your new building and district.  Once you have that down, it is time to grow into your occupation.

These are lessons every new teacher should learn. Do not expect to learn them all at once, but as you gain experience, you will find these lessons valuable.

3. Understand the Importance of Readiness

Physical and emotional readiness is a tremendous factor in predicting student success in school. A student’s maturity is something that cannot be measured simply by age. It is human nature for a child to stop playing a game they never can win because of readiness.

That is where the compassion and understanding of a wise teacher becomes so important. Students do not need criticism for not being able to do what they are not ready to do. Instead, encouragement and patience are necessary. Flowers bloom when they are ready. Children are much the same way.

There once was an elementary school physical education teacher who loved to reinforce movement skills through relay races. One of the skills was skipping. The teacher noticed that in first grade, all the girls could skip, but many boys had trouble switching legs. Their skip was more like a trot.

The teacher asked a veteran teacher why first-grade boys had difficulty skipping. The response was both simple and enlightening: “Because they are not ready to skip. Give them time to grow up. By third grade they will all be skipping just fine.”

The teacher watched those boys the next two years and sure enough by the time those same boys reached third grade they could skip with no problem just like the girls.

If your students are struggling with something right now, encourage them not to give up. Don’t let them see themselves as a failure. Explain to them the importance of giving themselves more time to grow and mature. Support them with a little patience until they are ready to bloom.

Previous Growing Into Teaching Posts

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