Written by Katherine Bell
October 3, 2016
Congratulations, you are going to have the best future career in the world! How does that make you feel? Pretty awesome, right? As a pre-service teacher myself, I know that there are moments that I want to rip my hair out and other moments that make me so unbelievably proud of the major I have chosen. So below are ten things that you as a preservice teacher should be doing…NOW!
- Catch some Z’s
Get a good night’s sleep, folks. Contrary to common millennial beliefs, sleep is NOT for the weak. Whoever came up with tha is insane–you should never listen to them. Although this may not seem like the most important thing, it really is. College is a stressful time, but a major way to cope is getting proper sleep. Consistency is key. It sounds impossible, but going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time everyday can make you feel 10,000 times better. Trust me.
- Know your limits.
A very wise person once told me, “You can’t pour from a empty cup.” AKA: if you don’t take proper care of yourself you cannot help someone else out. If you’re anything like me, you probably LOVE getting involved. You feel like you need to be a part of everything because being left out of a really cool event isn’t really cool at all. Well to that, I’m gonna say stop. Know your limits–if you’re struggling to get schoolwork done, maybe drop one of the 60 extra-curricular events that you want to be apart of. Time management is a struggle, but if you learn it now, it will be much easier once you start teaching. You cannot help someone else without first helping yourself.
- Network or Netflix?
The mere thought of networking makes me want to throw up. I’d much rather stay at home in my sweats and watch Netflix until my eyes hurt. But as in any industry, networking is a major part of gaining experience, making valuable connections, and eventually finding a job. Talk to other teachers and find out how they run their classroom. Also, talk to professionals in the industry. If you’re stuck teaching something you know nothing about, these folks will be your best friends.
- Imitation is the best form of flattery.
While you’re sitting in class, bored out of your mind and doodling (caught ya) maybe you should be paying more attention to your teacher. If you’re reading this in class right now, (I’m flattered) pause, and watch your teacher. Watch how they use the classroom to their advantage. Ask yourself why you like some teachers and strongly dislike others. What do they do differently? If you see a lesson that you thought was creative and might want to use some day, ask the teacher how they put it together. Mimicking is a great way to learn and be successful. Monkey see monkey do, ya know?
- Do stuff… and gain experiences!
Right now in your life is the perfect time to use every single resource that you have to your advantage. You’re in college…USE IT PEOPLE! If you’re in high school, you’re in an even better position to use your teachers as resources. Employers want you to have the experience before you get into the positions. If engines aren’t your strong point (ditto) visit an engine shop. If you’re struggling in something, take an intro class on that topic. Learn all you can now so you you can transfer the best knowledge on to your future students.
- Choose the intern life.
This one ties into five a bit, but it’s totally not the same. Internships and shadows are wonderful gifts to college students to make up for having them pay a crazy amount of money to go to school. Like I said before, if an industry is not your strong point, shadow a company in that industry! Gain the experience you need now before you get into the classroom and find out you don’t know something. As for internships, I challenge you to do one every summer you’re in college and make them all different. For example, do an internship as a field scout, then one in an agricultural business, then as a greenhouse hand. Challenge yourself AMAP (as much as possible). Oh yeah, and don’t forget to check out the Teach Ag Ohio internship!
- “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Never feel comfortable! There’s an awesome quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that reads, “Do one thing every day that scares you”. Time for simple math: 365 days in a year (366 on leap years) + scary things = LOTS OF SCARY! If one thing everyday is way too much, challenge yourself to one thing a month, or maybe like me (anxiety sucks) one thing a year that absolutely terrifies you. This could be moving across that state, getting a new internship, or something small like finally starting that diet you keep telling yourself you’re going to do. Change is good, but it can be scary, embrace it. You CAN do it!
- Hoarding is OK.
Remember all those power point notes your teachers gave you and you threw away at the end of the semester because you will never use them again? Ain’t no going back now but, um, yeah…. I’m telling you to keep those. Those notes are excellent resources to use in a classroom! Need to teach an intro to soils class? Remember how you took that in college? Pickin’ up what I’m putting down? Use your resources, people!
- Get hype.
Don’t freak out, but the future is going to come whether you like or not. Remember that feeling you had on move-in day of your freshman year of college? You were excited for what the future holds–don’t ever forget that feeling. Ask yourself why the freshies always look so happy, it’s because they are! They chose a career path and are ecstatic for what their future holds. Get excited to teach because teaching is the absolute best career in the world!
- Enjoy Yo’self.
You have the best future career in the world with the best co-workers in the world. Don’t get too caught up in where you’re going. Enjoy your time now. Live in the moment. Don’t rush things. I’ll stop with the cliche phrases. It’s so so SO important that you don’t wish your life away because it already moves too fast. Before you know it, you’re going to be thinking about your retirement wondering where all the time has gone. Live for now, embrace your future and finally, GOOD LUCK!