Monday, November 15, 2010

Things I Wish I'd Learned in School.

I have a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Drama and a Major in English. I have an English-teaching Clear credential. I have been teaching now for five years. I did a lot of studying in school and worked as hard as I could...but I still don't know the really important things I need to know to be a successful teacher.

Here are some classes I wish I had taken.

1. Fundraising 101, 202, and 303.
This series of classes would cover how to succesfully run an effective, lucrative fundraiser without stepping on any other club's territory at an already fundraiser-saturated, state-controlled school.

2. Cardboard 235
This class would cover how to make stuff out of refrigerator boxes, like set pieces, props, book-shelves, etc. It would also cover basic tool usage, such as box cutters, packing tape, spray paint, and electric drills.

3. Motivation 504

This class would teach you how to get 100 surly high school students to not only WANT to work hard on a project, but also how to make them actually capable of doing it well, and how to make it all seem really, really FUN.

4. School Politics 855
This advanced class would teach you how to identify the powerful people (not always administrators- sometimes they're teachers) at your school who are capable of getting you fired or possibly making your life miserable. The class would teach you how to both avoid and suck-up to them. It would also go over the basics of What To Do When Someone is Bad-Mouthing your Administrators, and What To Do when Some Other Teacher Tells you How Great their Kids and Their Program are When you Hate yours.

5. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 205
This would be the last class in your degree program. It would basically consist of teaching you pre-designed scripts to help make your teaching life bearable. The students in this class would regularly repeat phrases such as,

a. "We'll do our best, but remember, it's only a _____________ (insert whatever extracurricular program is making you crazy here)."

For example, "It's only a yearbook." "It's only a club." "It's only a school play." "It's only my career." "They're only high school students."

b. "Teaching is not my life. Teaching is not my life. Teaching is not my life. Teaching is not my life."

c. "I will go home before 6:00 tonight."

d. and finally, "This too shall pass. But my students probably won't."


  1. Sigh... how I wish I'd followed that advice... ended up with a hundred hour week in the end... took ages to recover... how foolish we are at times... just be sensible, it sounds as though you are..

  2. Hi Sandra Rose,
    Very good! I present you with a nice shiny apple:-)
    'Cardboard 235', Now, that's what I call, 'thinking outside the box'.
    Would you like a chocolate doughnut? lol
    I do hope you have a peaceful and pleasant week.
    With respect, Gary

  3. We used to say: "Consider it a ministry" whenever things we just so crazy that you wanted to run away screaming and hollering... Or there's the: "It don't matter!" from the great skit Tim Conway did on the Carol Burnett Show imitating a slick haired evangelist.. "It just don't matter!"
    But of course it did matter and it was a ministry. It's just never what you think it will be.
    Great blog. Enjoyed it immensely.

  4. Sandy, Brilliant stuff. I love it. I think my friends would like it at school . You mind if I share ? Mamasita

  5. I would like to take Economics 777: "How to Make Gobs of Money Without Really Trying." Do you think anyone offers that one?