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Reader Appreciation: Athena

022November is Reader Appreciation Month at So You Want To Teach? Today’s featured reader is Athena.

Name: Athena
Location: South Texas
Occupation: ELA 9th & 10th grade

Tell me some of your favorite things about your job
I like the freedom of the job. I used to be in a cube job where I had to punch a timeclock all the time. Every moment of my job was timed. I sat and stared at 4 grey fuzzy walls everyday.

Now, I come to work at my own time. Nobody is watching.

Plus, I have control over my job. I decide what and when I teach. I decide if I am going to stay late. I can take my work home if needed. (Though I don’t do that as often as I used to.) My bosses listen. I know that administration don’t listen to teachers at other schools, but they always listen here. Even when I know I am being a little irrational.

I like working with teenagers. Middle school kids would drive me crazy. And the older I get, the less I like little kids. I think I have leftover karma issues from when I was in high school and now I get to work them out. Plus, I learn self assertiveness from teenagers.

In addition, I get to work with books, which I love. At my previous cubicle job, I could read if I had nothing else to do. Wow, read and get paid!!!!!! But after two years, the new bosses said we couldn’t anymore. Then I became bored. In teaching, I actually have to read to set an example, to keep up with students and my profession, and to keep my mind sharp. I’m expected to know things. I don’t have to hide the fact I love to read and nobody looks down on me because I am a bookworm.

Finally, I honestly and truly believe that teaching is what I was born to do. I have never had the satisfaction of the feeling of being paid to do what I would do for free anyway. I don’t know why I feel this way. Maybe God really does plan our lives and if we follow that plan we will be very happy with our lives.

Tell me some things you loved about your favorite teacher(s)
Mrs. B, my first grade teacher, was around the first time I went through teacher education. About the time I dropped out, she died. I always felt very guilty about that she didn’t see one of her students become a teacher. When I finally became a teacher, I said a little prayer of thanks for Mrs. B. I’m sure she was rooting for me from heaven and helped put all the little miracles that helped me succeed at getting certified.

Mr. G. was my algebra teacher and was extremely funny. I still can’t do math, but I liked his class because it was so comfortable. He died too a few years ago.

Mrs. J was my art teacher from 1st grade to high school. I still use the art techniques she taught!! It was amazing that I had the same teacher for all of my school career.

My favorite teacher of all time was a college professor, Dr. W. He was the only teacher I had who had the guts to tell me that my writing sucked and actually showed me the importance of good writing. I think of him every time I grade a student’s essay and I have to be tough.

List some of your most effective classroom management strategies

  1. The students need to be working on something constructive at all times. They work from bell to bell.
  2. Pay attention at all times.
  3. Spot checking of what they are supposed to be working on.
  4. Keep high expectations.
  5. None of my students can complain I don’t care.
  6. Make the rules clear and be consistent.
  7. Be strict at first and ease up later.

(The last two I have to work on.)

Name (up to) three other blogs that you frequently visit/subscribe

  • I find I identify with Ms. A.’s Confessions from the Couch the most this year. The struggles with high expectations, overwhelmness (I think that is a word), and just the struggle to learn this craft really speak to me.
  • The Science Goddess’ WhatItsLikeOnTheInside always makes me think. I am fascinated by her experiments in grading. I want to grade my students on what they learned, not if they are just good at the classroom game. Her thoughtful insights have made me think of what’s fair of my students without compromising my high expectations.
  • I love Frumteacher. Frumteacher seriously makes me wish I was teaching history. I have my Master’s in history and it is my first love. I want to do some Egyptian history and Cold War discussions. Plus, I love her talking about her Jewish religion.
  • Finally, Ms Teacher always keeps me reading. Through her blog, I learned about 21classes blog at a time I was scouring the internet for a blog to use in the classroom that I could control. She always leaves sweet comments on my blog that really encourage me when the going gets tough in my life.

If you would like to have your information included here, follow the link to Reader Appreciation Month.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

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