Today I spoke to the brand new education graduate students at Wake Forest University. These are individuals who received undergraduate degrees in other disciplines; math, science, english, history, and foreign language. Wake Forest offers a one year graduate program where you can earn your masters degree and teaching license. I went through it after doing a year of graduate mathematics and I loved it! It suited me better than straight mathematics and turned me on to this career that I am so passion about!
I was so excited to meet them but did not know what I wanted to share with them. There really is so much to tell young, excited, upcoming teachers! Dr. McCoy, my former teacher, mentor, and head of the program knows me well and (tried) to help me keep it brief. It was hard – I love to talk and haven’t taught in two weeks! They were a fabulous audience and laughed a lot at the end (mostly at me). I wish I could have stayed longer, shared more, and of course talked more! But mostly I wish I could have had time to answer their questions. I remember being just where they are and all of the questions I had! I just don’t remember now what those questions were.
What I told them:
Creativity is very important – you need to be creative as their teacher AND you need to have the students create. Students take ownership when they create. This helps them become invested in what they are learning!
Use technology – I talked about wiki pages and google docs.
Don’t be afraid to be different – as new students they are the ones with the fresh ideas. Older teachers may think their ideas are crazy but don’t let that stop them!
Use blogs and twitter – Reach out and find other passionate teachers online! There is so much out there! These teachers are supportive and LOVE to share their stuff! You can find me at @jreulbach on Twitter.
Sing songs! Everyone in advertising wants a catchy jingle for a reason! It works! Find ways to get the important things you really them to remember into their heads – FOREVER!
I shared the geometry books that my students made. I have learned more from this project than anything I did all year.
Don’t forget that the person doing the most work in a classroom is usually the one doing all of the learning. That person should not be you.
Good luck class of 2011-2012! I could tell what a dynamic group you were just by being in the room with you! I wish I could help you more! Feel free to ask me questions anytime!
Welcome to a life changing career!