Rookie Mistakes

455245_piece_of_paperThis year I am in the position to be able to work relatively closely with two first-year teachers and a second-year teacher. I also am working full time with a third-year teacher. One of my primary objectives this year is to be able to talk through some of their challenges and hopefully offer some suggestions for how they can better grow as teachers through the process. I see them making a lot of the mistakes that I used to make. In my discussions with some of the more experienced folks around me, I hear them refer to these as rookie mistakes.

We all make mistakes in our jobs on a daily basis. Some mistakes that we make are more normal than others. As I spend more time in the education field (I am now in my ninth year of teaching), I find that some of these “rookie mistakes” are pretty common for the younger teachers. Some of them are things I’ve even advocated on this blog in its early days.

It’s interesting to see how the light switch has slowly been flipped in my mind and how my approach this year is drastically different from anything I’ve done in the past. I started to see the shift early last school year but didn’t fully experience it until the beginning of summer band this July. WOW, is all I can say!

Needless to say, I have been staying busy with these new folks and marching band and doing everything else that is involved in my little band director world, but over the next few weeks/months, I plan on walking through my evolution of the first nine years of teaching. From pushover to dictator to bully to facilitator to inspiration. Or at least something like that…

So what are some of these rookie mistakes?

  • Impatience
  • Being boring
  • Too much energy
  • Trying to be too nice
  • Trying to be too mean
  • Spending too much time on one concept
  • Not realizing when the students are completely lost
  • Busy work
  • Yelling
  • Empty Threats

What are some others that I’ve left off the list? How are some of the ways you have addressed these and other common rookie mistakes?

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) 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. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

2 Comments on Rookie Mistakes

  1. Thinking that when kids continually ask for a study instead of regular class that the students will:
    1. use it wisely
    2. appreciate it

    Students often think they want lots of free time but the reality is that they thrive in a learning environment. They should have joined band/choir to make music – never rob them of a period of music making so they can do homework or chat with friends!!

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