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One Day as a Teacher: What to expect and what to do?

Although just about everyone who went through public or private education had a teacher, not many of us can easily remember what it actually was like to have a teacher. And unless you have worked as a teacher in some fashion in the past, it is very difficult to imagine what it actually is like to be a teacher. However, most teachers will tell you that the art of teaching is a rewarding, challenging and unforgettable experience. Here are some of the things that you are likely to learn and experience in a day as an average elementary school teacher.

Classroom management is extremely important

This is probably the single biggest surprise most people experience when they get a chance to teach. While it is important to know your material and to be able to convey it in an effective manner to your students, the truth of the matter is that if you cannot keep your students in line, you will not be able to teach anything at all.

Many new teachers find themselves full of knowledge about the latest instructional techniques and theories, but soon come to realize that none of this means anything without the ability to keep students in their desks. Veteran teachers, on the other hand, may not have the latest theories from educational departments and teaching programs, but they will almost always have their own tried and true methods of keeping students off the walls and ready to learn.

As a result, if you are thinking of starting a career as a teacher, the first thing to focus on should not be whether or not you have a passion for your subject or whether you are the fun man or woman who loves to be around kids and share knowledge. Rather, what you’ll need to focus on will be whether or not you can manage a lot of people much younger than you who don’t know why they should be listening to you instead of having a good time. Once you’ve got that figured out, everything else comes easily in teaching.

A teacher takes a hand opens a mind and touches a heart.

Anonymous

The adults in the building are often just as challenging as the students

This is another surprising element of teaching that takes new teachers by surprise. Once you have the basics of classroom management down and your students can more or less sit in one place, you’re likely to find the administrators in the building to be your next challenge.

No one likes taking orders and no one likes to be micromanaged, but most schools have very definite pecking orders and teachers are very close to the bottom. Finding ways to fit in all of the requirements of the principal, the superintendent, and the board of education can be more challenging on some days than finding ways to keep your students from throwing paper airplanes at each other.

Challenges in students can often be traced to challenging parents

Finally, nearly every experienced teacher will tell you that difficult students almost always come from difficult parents. This is particularly evident whenever parent and teacher conferences roll around.

Adjust Your Resume

Your resume is more than just a list of your previous jobs and experiences. Tailoring a resume to fit each different job you apply for can make a big impact on a potential employer.

Your resume should have a stated objective at the top, specific to the job you want. The objective should include a brief statement highlighting your qualifications for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a staff assistant for Acme Company, your objective should read something like, “To secure a staff assistant position at Acme Company, drawing on solid office management skills.”

Like the objective, the job experience you list should pertain specifically to the job you are trying to get. Every job has multiple duties, and by placing more emphasis on the duties that are relevant to the position you’re seeking, you will come across as more qualified for the job. For example, if you’re considering a job as a sales clerk in a clothing store and one of the positions on your resume is a waitress job at a restaurant, don’t focus on the skills of waiting tables. Rather, focus on the people skills you honed at that job, such as “Interacted with customers to provide a pleasant dining experience,” or “Helped diners choose what to order by describing the food in a straightforward, descriptive manner.” These statements focus on your interactions with the customers. If you’re applying for a bartending job, you can frame that same experience in a different way, such as “Waited on multiple tables at the same time while ensuring all diners were satisfied with the service,” showing that you can multi-task and handle more than one order at a time.

If you have a great deal of experience in many different fields, it’s okay to leave some jobs off your resume as long as these omissions don’t leave a large gap of time that makes it appear that you were unemployed for that time. For example, if you worked as a teacher during the day and as a telemarketer at night, and you’re applying for a teaching job, you can leave the telemarketing job off since it’s irrelevant to teaching and won’t leave a time gap. The key is to provide your potential employer with as much relevant information as possible, without overloading the resume to the point where it’s watered down.

The main point to remember is that you want each potential employer to feel like you have really done your research and you know exactly what you want in a job. Tailor each resume to the specific employer, and you will find that you end up with more interviews and job offers than you would sending a general, vague resume to those employers.

Job Interview: What is your biggest weakness?

A job interview can be stressful no matter what questions are being asked, but there’s one traditional job interview question that strikes fear into the heart of every job candidate: “What is your biggest weakness?”

Why is this question so terrifying? Job seekers are afraid that giving the wrong answer could ruin their chances of being offered the job. If they talk about a weakness that the interviewer sees as a liability, they’re out. If they say the same old thing about “being a perfectionist” or “working too hard,” the interviewer won’t take them seriously. If they make a joke out of it, it will seem like they’re avoiding the issue.

With all those fears that arise in every interview, it seems impossible to get this question right. What can job seekers say about their biggest weakness that will make them look like a better candidate?

The job search experts have conflicting opinions about this topic. Here are a few of the common suggestions for how to answer a question about your biggest weakness.

  • Mention a trait that is usually regarded as negative but put a positive slant on it. As one example, say that you sometimes have trouble delegating work if you think that it will be done more completely by yourself, because you have high standards for excellence.
  • Talk about an issue that you used to struggle with and describe how you’ve addressed the problem. For example, say that you used to have trouble locating important files because you weren’t very organized, but go on to explain how you revamped your systems to improve the results.
  • Tell a story about a great piece of advice you’ve received that helped you overcome your weakness.
  • Say almost anything—what matters isn’t the content of your response, just how you say it. This question is designed to put a job candidate on the spot, so a winning response is one that’s delivered in a calm, lighthearted tone. Another hint: don’t talk too long! Keep your response under 20 seconds.

Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.

Knute Rockne

Remember, in the end, this is just one question that probably won’t make or break your interview. With a little preparation, you can present your response calmly and with humor, leading your interviewer to the next question—and ultimately, if all goes well, to a job offer.

Give Your Employees a Constructive Feedback

Feedback in the workplace is an essential part of employee training and maintenance at most jobs. Unfortunately, due to the negative associations, most people have problems with receiving feedback and criticism from their superiors. The reception of feedback at work can be an extremely stressful experience. From a supervisor’s perspective, delivering feedback can be equally stressful when you know the person you are about to speak to and the supervisor would rather be anywhere else in the building at that moment.

However, giving feedback doesn’t have to be like giving an injection to a struggling child. With the right approach, giving your employees constructive feedback can be a polite, helpful, and even pleasant experience for both parties. Here are some tips for providing constructive feedback in an effective and non-threatening manner as a supervisor.

Start with positive feedback

This is perhaps the most important point to keep in mind when it comes to giving feedback that is intended to be constructive. You know that your employee will already be dreading meeting with you when you call him or her into your office. As a result, it can really help to put your employee at ease if you start by giving him or her information about things that he or she has been doing right instead of wrong.

Everyone likes hearing about things they are doing well, and most people don’t hear about such things nearly enough. You can set the meeting off on a positive tone that carries through well into any complaints or suggestions you offer later on if you make it a point to start out by praising the employee for things you would like him or her to keep doing on the job.

Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.

Margaret Chase Smith

Get to the point quickly

This is essential to remember when giving constructive feedback. When you’ve got to say something negative or tell someone who works under you to change the way they’ve been doing things, you’ve got to say it as quickly as possible. This is because the person will probably be able to sense that negative information is coming his or her way long before you actually come out with it.

The longer you hesitate and hem and haw and beat around the bushes, the more anxious the receiver of the feedback will get, and that stress will not make the meeting go any better. In fact, the employee might become so stressed waiting for the feedback that he or she doesn’t even hear the feedback when you deliver it. If you’ve got bad news, get it over with quickly so you can start talking about how to make it better.

Show how to make things better

As stated above, the point of delivering the bad news should be to allow you to show how you can make things better. This doesn’t mean you need to hold the employee’s hand and guide him or her toward a solution, but it does mean that there isn’t much of a point in giving feedback about things that are going wrong if you don’t show how to make them right.

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