After four years’ worth of college courses and wonderful professors, you’d assume that I would have been fully prepared for my career as a teacher. However, there are many aspects of the educational world that no one ever prepares you for. Throughout my five-and-a-half years of teaching, I have often imagined what the perfect course load in college would have looked like. Here’s a peek at my top fictional college courses.
1. Bladder Training 101
Had I known that bathroom breaks would be few and far between, I would have started doing Kegel exercises in seventh grade. Bladder training 101 would be comprised of various activities to aid in the art of “holding it in.” Students in this course would master the skills of learning how to survive on minimal liquids throughout the day, the art of ignoring the pain, and pee dances guaranteed to distract you from that nagging feeling that you might wet your pants at any given moment.
2. Smiling and Nodding in the Face of Anything and Everything
My biggest fear going into teaching was that I would end up with a class of difficult students. It turns out that my students have been fabulous—it’s the parents that are the challenge. In order to remain professional and not completely lose your mind, there is a lot of smiling and nodding as you try to keep your inner rage from pouring out of you. This class would teach you how to do just that.
3. Seating Charts and Classroom Organization
I used to envision my future classroom as a beautiful, spacious wonderland of learning. Flash forward to reality, and the learning part is there. But the space part? Not so much. Arranging desks to fit in my room without them becoming a fire hazard is a true puzzle that only the likes of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking are equipped to solve.
4. Poker Face Training
Teaching requires a ton of self-control, especially when one of your students says something hilariously inappropriate or bizarre. From elementary school students subconsciously turning every piece of artwork into a phallic symbol to middle school students cracking jokes that you’re supposed to reprimand them for, teachers need to master the art of thinking horrible thoughts to prevent them from bursting out laughing. My personal recommendations are famine, poverty, abandoned puppies, and how severely underpaid I am.
5. Introduction to Juggling
As a teacher, you are expected to complete 80 separate tasks at the same time while also providing a minimum of 25 children with a high-quality, interactive, and engaging education. Every day consists of creating lessons, entering those lessons into a template, brushing up on content, preparing materials in the classroom, addressing a variety of learning abilities within the room, providing enrichment for advanced students and support for students who are not on grade level, writing objectives, answering questions, asking questions, keeping track of who went to the bathroom at what time, answering parent emails, submitting attendance, keeping the room from looking like a tornado passed through, giving emotional support to students who need it … . The list goes on and on. And that’s just a regular day. I’m not complaining, because this is the life I chose, but I definitely could have benefited from a juggling course.
6. How to Be in Two Places at Once
Astrophysics, anyone? I really could have used a class that taught me how to be in multiple places at once. When the bell rings, I’m supposed to be greeting students at the door, supervising the hallway, cleaning up from the previous class, and preparing my room for the next class—all at once.
7. Indoor Recess Survival Skills
If not properly prepared, indoor recess can be a terrifying time for all involved. It’s like a war zone in there. For some reason everyone feels as if they must scream-talk, and the noise level reaches an unnatural high. As you desperately try to supervise all of the children piled into the room, you have to carefully check all dark corners, protect your eardrums from rupturing, and break up seven different board game–related arguments, all while being followed around the room by that one kid who only socializes with teachers.
8. Self-Control: How Not to Buy All the Things
I empathize with addicts because when I’m let loose in a Barnes & Noble, Target, Staples, or teaching-supplies store, no one can stop me. Why, yes, I DO need ALL of the Sharpies, thank you.
9. Appropriate Synonyms for Curse Words
If you have a potty mouth in your regular life, as I do, you need to brush up on a long list of synonyms for curse words before you step foot in the classroom. Some of my most notable G-rated curse words are “Shit … take mushrooms,” “Ah mother … of pearl,” “What the fu … dge?”
10. Copy-Machine Engineering
It’s awesome that whenever the copy machine malfunctions, the company sends a well-equipped engineer to fix it in a timely fashion. LOL. Just kidding. That never happens. If you want those copies ready to go for class, you’d best be willing to burn a hand and get covered in black ink. Maybe I come out of that staff room looking like I just replaced a car engine, but I am not leaving without my ancient Sumer crossword puzzles.
- Speaking While Writing
- How to Handle Ignorant Comments about Teachers from Non-Teachers
- How Not to Jump From a High Building When You Hear About Other People’s Salaries
- Pushing Through the Pain: Writing Quality Sub Plans While Dying of the Flu
- How to Manage Children on a Bus During a Field Trip While Also Giving the Bus Driver Full Directions Because They Still Use MapQuest
- Getting Yelled at for Things That Are Completely out of Your Control
- How to Manage Your Wine Intake on Weeknights
- LOL, What Are Weekends?
We’d love to hear—what college courses do you think would have been useful? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.