Saturday, May 08, 2010

Teacher Gifts and Talents

There's a meme going around about "super teacher talents." They're not usually the kinds of things you'd put on a resume, but they are the kinds of day-to-day things you learn. After seeing at least 3 of the blogs I read do it, I couldn't help but try it out.

Some teacher talents I have:

- When I try- neat handwriting, even when digitized on the SmartBoard (probably has something to do with being Zaner-Bloser certified)
- Going at least 8 hours without using the restroom (yes, it's probably unhealthy, but it does come in handy)
- Ability to come up with terrifically awesome lessons that are worth the extensive planning they require, but usually only the night before when it's already late
- Predicting when a student is trying to do something in their desk without me noticing
- Speaking in bad accents when necessary to get the class's attention
- Great at surreptisiously checking to see if that thing-in-her-hair is lice while making her think I'm listening to what she has to say
- Resisting the urge to cringe when that student leans over for a huge hug
- Not being afraid to wear goofy things to school like 'footie' pajamas for a kids' reward
- Knowing just enough about Pokemon to impress them
- Making science sound exciting without making it seem like 'magic'
- Explaining some very basic stoichiometry to high schoolers in a way that helps any of them understand it (as I hate chemistry and found it very difficult, I'm pretty proud of this one)
- Patience to repeat the same phrases and instructions over and over again
- Making any phrase musical or rhythmic, especially for the kindergartners
- Easily filling an extra 5-10 minutes at any given moment
- Can give a kid a fluency test while keeping an eye out for drawing at one station, checking that kids aren't playing games that aren't allowed at the computer station, and listening in on a conversation that's about to become an argument in another group
- Can work a basic copier in record time
- Able to translate primary kids' writing into real words with vowels and everything!
- Telling whether a student actually 'needs' to go to the bathroom or just wants me to think so
- Telling whether a student really feels like s/he needs to throw up or just wants me to think so
- Can use a ridiculous amount of Post-Its
- Ability to avoid the older boys' straight-on hugs where their heads "coincidentally" hit chest height
- Simplifying the science terminology of a crazy-smart Ph.D so that high school students and sometimes even elementary students can understand the basic concepts he talks about
- Distinguishing the handwriting of each individual student when there's a no-name paper
- Good accuracy of pricing 'store' items based on estimated demand
- Noticing new haircuts, clothes, jewelry, and school supplies
- Ability to ride unexpected waves of learning and end up somewhere we never expected
- Acting like every thing a child tells me is the most interesting thing I have heard in my life

There are plenty of teacher talents I am still working on, but I think I'm picking up a lot already.

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