Updated: Mar 2
by: Talisha Mathis
Yes!!! You did it! You graduated from college with a BS in education, and you have landed a job. You are excited even though you didn’t get the job at the school in the suburbs. Instead, you got the job on the bad side of town, in the hood, near the projects. But hey, it’s a job and you are ready. You’ve read B.F. Skinner, Benjamin Bloom, and Howard Gardner, so you have no doubt that you are ready. At your teacher shower, your family and friends got you motivational posters to put up in your class. Your favorite one states “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. It’s your favorite poster because you want your students to come in every day ready to give 100% effort and work ethic. Your favorite aunt bought you a black border with glitter. You plan to put that up around your dry erase board where you are going to write the daily agenda. And you got everything monogrammed with your initials in the school’s color. READY YOU ARE!!
Are you really ready?
Are you ready to work 40+ hours a week because your students need help after school? Then you may have to drive a student home because his mama is working late.
Do you have enough pencils to give every child every day because pencils aren’t something students need to survive in the real world, so their parents only buy them in August?
Did you buy snacks for the kids who NEVER have snacks; you don’t plan on letting them watch the other kids eat their snacks, right?
How about some washcloths so the kids can wash their faces? Their mother works the night shift and big sister, who is only 10 ten years old, forgot to help with that part.
Did you remember undergarments? Paper? Books? Instant oatmeal? Microwave? Comb? Brush? Socks? Lotion?
Oh yeah, don’t forget your C-O-F-F-E-E because you are about to lose sleep over someone else’s child.
If you’ve just realized, you are not ready, don’t panic or change your mind. Our kids need you. They need your positive energy, they need your encouraging words, and they need your unconditional love.
Here are 3 things you need to do to get ready.
Get your personal life together. I suggest getting a hobby to help with relaxation and reflection. You are not expected to have a perfect life, but you must have some sense of balance. This balance will help you greet the students with a beautiful smile in the morning and pass out tight loving hugs throughout the day. Having a balance in your life will also help you teach the students how to communicate their feelings and how to overcome obstacles that they face every day. In summary, be prepared mentally and if you don’t feel prepared mentally- CALL OUT. It’s okay.
Ride through their neighborhood. Go see how your students are living. Go see where they play. Ride through in the early morning, go back at lunchtime, and back that evening. Some of them are outside all day. Make sure you wave and smile when you see the kids- they may be in your class Monday morning!! This ride will help with establishing a relationship with your students and help with you having compassionate empathy.
Go shopping. Buy nice professional clothing. It is important for students to see educators as professionals. Think about it, athletes are seen entering the stadium before a game with nice, fancy clothes on. I’m a firm believer that if you look good, you feel good and you act accordingly. With that being said, LOOK GOOD EVERYDAY.
4. Last but not least, print and place this poem so you can read it every day before entering the school building…
Talisha Mathis is an instructional coach in Middle Ga. She enjoys helping teachers and underserved youth reach their full potential.