....That is the number of years I have been a teacher in the Arkansas public school system. I've learned many things in the last 15 years, so I thought I'd share a few with you, just in case you might choose to go into the field of education, or if you've ever just wondered....(I wonder about things like that)
Here you go, here are my top 10 in random order (aka: the order they pop into my head):
1.(because this is the one that is bugging me today) Energy drinks, (such as Amp, Nos, Monster, Rockstar, Red Bull, or the numerous other caffeine laden sugar laced liquid of choice) should NOT be sold to anyone under the age of 20, ESPECIALLY before 5 pm! (this will give said obnoxious side effects to run through the system of a teenager before they must report back to school.
.... but wait, there's more..... Should these companies balk at the idea of not selling these products to teens, they should be forced to spend 8 hours locked in a room with Monster swilling teens, while making them fill in the bubbles on a standardized testing form. I think we would definitely see a change in sales policies.
2. Spending exhorbitant amounts of money on jeans with holes is just.....stupid. Give me the same amount of cash you spend on a new, torn up pair of Silver jeans and I will soon be able to purchase that mobile Mac lab for students. Should you still want jeans with holes, go buy a cheap pair and sign up for a shop class....preferably welding....trust me, using a welder or a grinder will soon put many stylish holes in your jeans. I know this because the hubs welds and we have many, many pairs of jeans and long sleeved shirts with stylish holes...they are even singed around the edges so not to fray, and all it cost was the price of regular old pair of Wranger 13MWZ's.
3. Teachers do not want to see the color of your underwear. We would prefer you keep it covered at all times. This also includes cleavage (for girls), and the slogan "Say NO to crack" applies to more than just drugs.
Four. (yeah, my numeral four key is broken...it was the result of an unfortunate orange soda accident....which is my next little tip) If you have your own, personal children in your classroom after school, ban them from your desk, especially if they are arguing with each other and one happens to have an orange soda in his hand.
5. Be a lifelong learner, listen, be open to new ideas and thoughts....though it is still very difficult for me not to think of Pluto as a planet. Poor Pluto, wonder how he feels about being demoted? (and you thought I was going say something really profound when you read that first sentence!)
6. Go when you can, not when you have to. Roadtrip bathroom rules apply for school days, too, the minute you walk out of that classroom, chaos will ensue. (This one is especially helpful for new teachers.)
7. Your classroom is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship, you are Hitler...or Ghengis Khan....or Ivan the Terrible....or Leona Helmsley. Let them know that the first day, but also let them know dictatorships can be fun if they will obey.
8. Air freshener, Scentsy, Febreeze, and other good smelling products are your friends, keep them on hand at all times.....especially if you have 8th grade boys in the afternoon.....
9. Teachers are allowed to act goofy (at times) and make mistakes, and when we laugh at our mistakes it makes us more "real". Teachers can also sing to their students....lovely little ditties that will be stuck in their heads the rest of the day....it's a form of mind control...."Oh where is my hairbrush, oh where is my hairbrush, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh wheeeeeerrrreeee, is my hairbrush!" (works on students from grades 7-12, I have not yet had the opportunity to test it on younger victims, but now all I have to say is "Do I need to sing the HAIRBRUSH song?"
10. You will not change every single child that comes through your room, but don't stop trying to change the world; if you make an impact on one, you have touched the future. Results aren't immediate, it may take several years to know you have had a positive influence on a young life; it is worth the wait.
11. (yes, I said 10, but I also said as they pop into my head, so here's a bonus tip) Sometimes kids don't need to listen, they need to talk and be heard. We teach, but we also listen. You never know what is going on in the home or the life of one of your students, always remember, "Be kind to everyone, you never know what kind of battle someone is fighting."
I can have fun with the tips, but as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I remember lining stuffed animals up in chairs and teaching them things on a little slate (yes, I was a huge fan of Laura Ingalls and just had to have one of those little slates. If you don't know what a slate is, look it up....be a lifelong learner.) Yes, I could make lots more money being a graphic designer, but a part of me would be missing. I love my job, I love my school, and I love my kids....all my kids....even the ones who show up with an energy drink.