8 Lessons I Learned after 8 Years in Education

After a very real conversation with Phil Taitt on his talk show, I realized I have truly learned much more than the basics of teaching. The following 8 lessons are some of the most invaluable pieces of wisdom I have gained. Thank you for asking such reflective questions Phil, you are appreciated.

8. Whatever you give to your students is what you will get back from them.
If you bring joy, you feel joyous in return. If you allow fun, you will feel happy with them too. If you give love, especially during the most difficult moments when they need it most, you will feel loved in return, especially when you need it most. Don't be afraid to love a little harder when things get harder because that's when it truly counts. 

7. Give your love away, not your power. Unconditional love is key to my classroom management. When we love with conditions, we lose our power. We must do the work of loving our students unconditionally because for some, we are the only ones that will teach them this. Unconditional love yields trust, trust yields respect, respect is what will push them to thrive in the learning environment, even on their worse days. 

6. Self-care before any other care! You have to love yourself before you can truly love your students. You have to know yourself. You must be aware of your triggers as well as your uplifters. These things take time to develop. It is never going to be enough to better your practice, you must be consistent in bettering yourself as well. 

5. Don't subscribe to anyone else's best practices if it leads to forfeiting the creation of your own. Many people may say what works for them and you may try it and it fails. This doesn't mean you have failed as a teacher. It means you need to keep looking for your niche. 

4. Set boundaries. Be transparent. But respect those boundaries. In that order. Transparency builds unbreakable bonds of understanding for students that you may never know they need. Just be careful with what you say and how you say it. After all, they are still children. 

3. Before you became a teacher, you were one of your students. Stop being such a teacher, be a human. Reach them in the same way that you needed to be reached at their age. 

2. Trust the journey. Their journey doesn't end when they graduate from high school or college, this is where it begins. Don't ever feel like you failed at your job because they seem to be failing at life, according to your standards. I've been there and I've felt that way. You have to remember that their journey is their own, they will get where they are destined to be in their own time. Trust the journey and remain supportive. 

1. Everything you need to be great is already deeply embedded within you. You had great teachers and you still have great teachers every step of the way. Start looking at everything around you as your teacher - from the birds to the falling leaves. Pull knowledge and expertise from your own learning experiences. You have the answers, look within.