This article was written by Mel Santos — a licensed teacher from the Philippines. Mel works as a freelance writer and serves as a Sunday School teacher in her church. She is still waiting for her first teaching assignment and learning a lot in the meantime. Check her out on her blog or on Twitter.
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We've all endured years of studies and training, in the hopes of finding the right teaching job when it's all said and done. But sometimes, it doesn't come along right away. There are aspiring teachers who are willing to wait for a teaching assignment for as long as it takes.
If you’re a new teacher applying to different schools, you know exactly what this waiting means. You’ve completed the grueling process of acquiring a teaching certificate, passing tests, interviews, and student teaching assignments, and now you’re just waiting to be called for the job.
As someone who has been waiting for almost a year now to become a teacher, I realized that this season of waiting is not the time to doubt. I frequently ask myself if I really want to do this, and my answer is always YES, which brings me back to the waiting game, more determined than ever.
While we’re not making lesson plans, correcting student behaviors, and missing out on our social lives just yet, why not make the most of the waiting time! Every day is a chance to equip ourselves even more so when the time finally comes, we’ll look back and be proud of ourselves for waiting.
GO, GROW, GOAL
I lost count of the mornings I wake up not knowing what to do with the next 24 hours. Yep, most days we just want to stay in bed and do nothing. Not doing anything does not always mean we’re lazy, it just means we lack goals. Having a goal in mind will motivate you to spend your day in a more meaningful way.
A daily goal can be as simple as cleaning your closet or cooking a meal. Do you have a collection of magazines that need to be organized? Or a book from last year which you haven’t read until now? These are small tasks but doing them on your own pace gives you a chance to think, to breathe, and to reflect.
You can also embark on a big project. I love looking for new arts and crafts ideas online and trying them on my own. Sometimes, I join writing contests or update my blog. This way, my mind gets fed, my hands are working, and my heart is happy seeing results.
The time will come when we'll impart to our students the importance of having a goal. So start now by setting an example.
STEP OUT, REACH OUT!
In this day and age with the amount of technology at our finger tips, people have no excuse not to be involved. Many organizations are now using social media to spread awareness on different issues and encourage people to join in their advocacy. If you haven’t tried volunteering yet, this is the perfect time to do so.
There are many ways you can help a certain group but if you want to be exposed to the teaching environment, sign up for a teaching assignment! I came across some organizations via Facebook who welcome volunteer teachers. Here, you can even share your other talents alongside teaching. Teaching in a non-formal setting or simply being around children/young people will give you a glimpse of real classroom scenarios.
More than that, as a volunteer, you will learn to empathize. And empathy is an important bridge that connects teachers to students. It allows us to understand their needs before we begin to teach.
TALK, TALK, TALK
Talking with a fellow teacher is like talking with your soulmate. You feel a certain spark, a connection, right away. Most of the teachers I’ve talked to are my relatives. Others are church mates and friends. Some are retired, others new, and many are struggling in the battlefield. I love hearing their various stories. Not all of them are encouraging (especially when they complain about their school—ha!), but all of them are real-life experiences that I know I will very likely encounter someday, too.
Connect to as many teachers as you know and find out how they’re doing. You will learn about motivating and engaging students, dealing with failing students, co-teacher issues, endless paperwork, and other ways to prepare you for the reality of the profession.
You will learn that it’s a tough job. But you will gain a lot of helpful insight from the stories you hear. Jot down the important stuff and keep any advice you think will work for you. Ask questions—especially on teaching strategies and classroom management. Listen to how they cope with the problems and where they find the motivation to keep going. You will need that, for certain, when your time to teach comes.
AND YES, IT WILL COME!
One day, you’ll set foot in your own classroom. You’ll stand in front of your pupils and be called their teacher. I dream of that moment, every single day. Waiting is no fun, but if you make yourself productive while you wait, you'll be more prepared for a long, healthy career of teaching. After all, our future students deserve nothing less than their teacher’s best.