My intentions going into college was to be a secondary English teacher (high school). That changed quickly when I took Psych 101 my first semester of college at Saint Xavier University! I decided to switch my major to Clinical Counseling Psychology to become an LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor). My love grew for psychology at my university and I just knew that's the field I wanted to be in. So, I finished my degree in four years, as planned, and received a bachelor's degree in just that: Clinical Counseling Psychology. Afterwards, I knew I wanted to get my master's degree. However, I decided I'd give myself a much-needed gap year after taking six very tough psychology classes all in my very last semester of college. Yikes!
Meanwhile, I was working at Walgreens for about a year or more until I decided to quit in the summer after I graduated (2016). I ended up with a very boring summer job at Tel Assist where I answered phone calls from 9:00 - 5:00 (I recommend you to stay away from a job like that - it'll drive you insane). That job only lasted up until September 2016 (it was that bad). By this time, I was engaged and in need of another job. Any job.
I began substituting at a local Muslim school in October, 2016. I was a little iffy about this at first, but after a few weeks, I began enjoying it. Honestly, if it wasn't for me subbing, I don't think I would have even applied to a school in general. I'm glad I subbed because it really opened my mind and it also gave me enough experience to know what I like and don't like. I was there from October to April 2017, which is when I stopped working in preparation for my wedding in May, 2017. To be frank, after subbing, I realized one thing for sure: I cannot deal with little kids. High school ONLY!
With that being said, I knew I would never want to teach little kids. They're just way too much and I prefer to deal with older and more mature kids. My sister is a 2nd grade teacher and everyday I wonder how... You have to have a special kind of patience for that. And that, my friend, I do not have!
APPLYING FOR MY POSITION.
So, I got married, went on my honeymoon, enjoyed my jobless summer, went on another vacation, and then applied for an open position at another local Islamic school in August, 2017. I actually originally applied to be the head volleyball coach! I got called in for an interview, was offered many positions: head volleyball coach for varsity and junior high, athletic director, junior high and high school P.E. teacher, and most importantly, the psychology teacher (yes!).
I was so unbelievably happy to get hired, mostly as the psychology teacher and head volleyball coach, and although it was tough my first year, I absolutely loved it. So, let's get into what it's like to be a teacher!
MY FIRST YEAR.
My first year was tough at times, but overall, I'd say it was great. I really enjoyed it and I was simply learning myself! Being the head volleyball coach, athletic director, and P.E. teacher was all very simple. I'll be talking about my psychology classes (I talk a bit about my coaching experience at the end)!
Prepping for the First Day of School
I'm basically lost at this point. I accepted the job only three weeks before school began, so I had a lot to do and not much experience doing it! However, I got through it and learned rather quickly. Because I didn't have any resources from the previous psychology teacher, I had to create my own lessons from scratch, which included homework, classwork, tests, quizzes, and everything you could think of! I wasn't really sure on how to even begin teaching, so I used what I knew would be best for my comfort, which was creating powerpoint slideshows to lecture and move on with a class activity, then homework to retain. So, before school began, I tried to plan as many days in advance as possible! That way I could feel more prepared.
Teaching for the Very First Time
Oh my God. You won't believe how nervous I was! I had two psychology classes my first year: psychology and psychology honors. And I was just so nervous to stand up there in front of a bunch of 16, 17, and 18 year old girls who have no idea who I am and what I'm like, so I knew there was some hard-core judgment.
I remember doing an activity the first day of school that my actual high school psychology teacher did with us on the first day of class. I remember loving it and it taking everyone's attention, so I thought I would do the same! It was the House-Tree-Person Psychology Test! I had everyone draw each and we talked about what it revealed about them and their personality just by the way they drew those three things. They really enjoyed that and it got them interested in the subject altogether.
I remember my nerves settling down a bit about 10 - 15 minutes into class. I just wanted to be myself and show these girls who I am from day one. I didn't want to be fake or be someone I'm not, that would've just defeated the whole purpose! My goal wasn't to become their friend (however, sometimes that'll happen). My goal was to be like a lot of my favorite teachers growing up. Since I didn't have any experience teaching and I didn't have a degree in teaching, I kind of based everything off my own awesome experiences as being a high school student with my favorite teachers.
Deciding What Type of Teacher you Want to Be
One thing you need to know for sure before teaching for the first time is what kind of teacher you want to be... Do you want to be that strict and everybody-hates-her teacher? That friendly and she's-such-a-pushover teacher? Or that nice but she-can-be-tough teacher?
Well, first, I knew I wanted to be myself and just simply be nice. However, I wasn't about to let some teenage girls step all over me! So I knew from day one that I need to let them know where I stand and where they stand. With that being said, I'm basically the kind of teacher that is nice to my students, but I can also be tough and strict with them when I need or want to. I joke with my students, I make them laugh, and I could be easygoing most of the time, but then within a second I can be the opposite. So, basically, my students will usually know to "stay on my good side." Not that I have sides - I'm saying that the class likes to stay on my good side rather than my bad!
Being Consistent in the Classroom
One thing I learned is to stay consistent with the classroom. Especially with rules and consequences, because if you aren't, then the students will never take you seriously. I admit, I'm still trying to be consistent with consequences in the classroom, but sometimes it's just hard to remember or to keep track of! After my second year, though, I realize that no matter what - it's super important to hold students responsible for their actions. You'll get what you allow!
MY SECOND YEAR.
Going into my second year teaching was a piece of cake. I familiarized myself with the skills of teaching, the students, and my own teaching style. My first year went really well, so I was only more confident going into my second year. Instead of teaching psychology and psychology honors, I taught child psychology. This is because we don't have a large student population, so we switch back and forth every year between the type of psychology class that is being taught.
Teaching Child Psychology
I really enjoyed teaching this class! It was an interesting topic. I taught about genetics, the prenatal developmental process, sensation and perception in babies, the developing brain, eating disorders in children, puberty, and all that fun stuff. It was great! I just prefer teaching the general class of psychology since it's not only geared toward children! However, it being my second year teaching, I do feel like it was a lot more smooth. I knew what worked well and what didn't, I learned from my mistakes from my first year, and I was just experienced at that point. The only thing that kind of sucked about this year is that I still had to create an entire curriculum from scratch. This was the first time my school has ever had child psychology, so I literally created everything from homework to quizzes to tests to projects to slideshows and more! So two years in a row I created curriculums day by day.
WHAT TO EXPECT.
A few things to expect as a teacher:
THE BEST THINGS ABOUT TEACHING.
I would say the best things about teaching would be:
I don't think I could ever imagine myself in a job where I don't have my entire summer off ever again tbh... Lol, it's just the best thing on living earth. AND having a winter and spring break?! All the bullshit you put up with throughout the school year is WORTH IT, hunny!
THIS UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR.
I'm SUPER excited for this upcoming school year! Why? Because I am FINALLY teaching a class that I've already taught before!!!! Do you know what this means!?!?!?!?! I don't have to create an entire curriculum! I don't have to create worksheets, quizzes, tests, study guides, midterms, finals, articles, projects, presentations, slideshows, anything!! I get to finally use what I've already created and just tweak it as I go along and as I please! I saved and organized all my things from my first year teaching psychology and psychology honors, so it's going to be that much less stressful this year! I can't wait.
I also can't wait to just go back to teaching the basics of psychology. It's so much better than only child psychology. I get to teach statistics, research methods, sensation, perception, the brain, hypnosis, sleep activity, psychoactive drugs, mental health disorders, and so much more! It's just much more fun and there are a range of topics. The students always love it!
What my next school year looks like:
So, as you can see, my hands are EXTREMELY full! But I'm okay with it. I'm excited for it all. Going into my third year of teaching makes me feel like I'm a professional now... Like, I'm not worried about it at all. I'm so chill about it and I'm looking forward to it already and it’s only July! I'm excited to teach general psychology again and be able to use all of my resources that I worked hard on creating my first year. We shall see how this upcoming year goes!
As I mentioned earlier. I also coach volleyball! I’m going into my third year coaching both varsity and junior high. I truly love it! Varsity is obviously more fun to coach since it’s way more competitive and advance. I like to coach jh to prep them for what’s to come on varsity, since I’ll be coaching them in high school too! I want them ready. It’s one of the best feelings being able to teach kids something you’re passionate about and then seeing them excel at it! Going into my school, the athletics were not the greatest. The volleyball team didn’t win any games the year before I came. After my first year coaching them, we won 3 games. It isn’t a lot, but it’s 3x more than the year before! And my second year with them, we won a total of 7 games!!! It’s all about building and slow progress. We achieved 2nd place in our entire conference and beat schools they’ve never beat before. So it was extremely amazing and overwhelmingly satisfying! I absolutely love the adrenaline and I love the challenge. I’m such a competitive person and my girls definitely know that! Winning means EVERYTHING! There’s no such thing as “it’s okay to lose” on my team! Lol! I’m here to win and I’ll get our team there anyway I know how. Practicing 5 days a week, Sunday mornings, whatever it takes. I give them my all! And they have so much talent, which makes me believe in them so much. I’m super excited for this upcoming season! I’m hoping to bring the championship trophy home. 🙌🏼
Overall, I would definitely recommend being a teacher. However, I would only recommend it to someone who is teacher material! You need to have a certain level of patience, organizational skills, communication skills, and a motivating work ethic. You have to have a drive to teach and a passion for it. I think it's a great career to have, through the ups and downs. The breaks you get every so often and the holidays you get off make it even more worth it. The schedule works really well with any life style and it's overall just a great job. I'm very happy I happened to land this teaching job because I wouldn't have been able to have this experience without it. Although I'm at a small private school, I truly love it. It gave me the chance to open a door I never thought would be open to begin with! I'm proud to be a teacher and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
Thanks for reading this entire blog! If you did, you're probably a teacher yourself or just really interested in becoming one. Or you're one of my students and wondering what I really think about teaching... LOL!
Anyway, I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions on anything specific and maybe on something I didn't brush up on, feel free to comment below and ask! Or email me privately, whatever works. Don't hesitate. I'm so happy to help others in any way that I can! Also, feel free to share your experience in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! 👩🏻🏫