My favorite time to answer this question was when I was teaching kindergarten-3rd grade at-risk reading in the mornings and college freshman English in the afternoon. When I was asked what is like to switch from little kids to adults, I answered nothing - college freshmen and kindergartens are about the same: both are really excited to be at school, both think they know everything, and both are a little afraid to leave mom. The only difference was size - kindergartners are a bit shorter. My second favorite time to answer this question was when I was teaching middle school English online. I started in virtual education in 2009, which most people could not even imagine how to do online education with kids. My answer that question was not much - I put in just as many hours for virtual education as I did for brick and mortar. I still had the same issues of motivation, attitude, SPED, helicopter parents, late work, etc. I still had to have lesson plans aligned to standards, sit through staff meeting, deal with interesting policy and procedures, and administer standardized testing. The only difference was communication with families and I could wear jeans everyday since students didn’t see me below my neck I communicated a lot more with parents and students in virtual education - more calls, more email, more lessons - than I ever did with brick and mortar students.
One thing that I have learned from all of the different places I have taught is that a good teacher is good regardless of the environment. According to Rob Jenkins, there are eight traits that make a good teacher good. Good teachers are good nature, are professional without being aloof, seem to enjoy what they are doing, are demanding without being unkind, are comfortable in their own skin, are tremendously creative, and make teaching look easy (2016). According to Marie Orlando, a great teacher respects students, creates a sense of community and belonging in the classroom, is warm and accessible, sets high expectations for all students, has his/her own love of learning, is a skilled leader, can “shift gears,” collaborates with colleagues on an ongoing basis, and maintains professionalism in all areas (2013). Although, I do agree with these lists, I think that it takes something more. It take blood, sweat, tears, time, patience, thick skin, strong stomach, and forgiveness to be a good teacher. Forgiveness being one of the most important attribute(https://tinyurl.com/forgivenessinteaching ). A good teacher knows his/her students to be more than a butt in a chair and name in the gradebook. A good teacher knows how to balance and use breaks for recharging. A good teacher smiles even when there is nothing to smile about. A place does not make good teacher. People make a good teacher.
So what is it like to be a teacher in . . . like a teacher anywhere else - rewarding!
Jenkins, Rob. “What Makes a Good Teacher?” What Makes a Good Teacher?, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 May 2016, www.chronicle.com/article/What-Makes-a-Good-Teacher-/236657. https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-Makes-a-Good-Teacher-/236657
Kerr, Rachel. "Teaching - ULTIMATE Practice of Forgiveness." Dr. Rachel Kerr's Classroom, 28 Apr. 2017, tinyurl.com/forgivenessinteaching.
Orlando, Marie. “Nine Characteristics of a Great Teacher.” Nine Characteristics of a Great Teacher, Faculty Focus: Higher Education Teaching Strategies from Magna Publication, 14 Jan. 2013, https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/nine-characteristics-of-a-great-teacher/