— Roxanne P., Buffalo, New York
"The most fun part of teaching is simply listening to the things kids say. On the first day of school I was introducing the subject matter we'd be covering in American history. I asked the kids to think of how a knowledge of history could help people to get along better in life. One of the tough kids in class wasn't volunteering any answers, so I called on him to respond. As he sat up straight in his seat, some of his buddies began guffawing behind him. I ignored them and repeated the question: 'How do you use history to get along?' He turned around to his friends and said, without missing a beat, 'Knock off the laughing, or you're history.'"
—Becka R., Mesa, Arizona
"Sometimes the day's curriculum goes in unexpected directions, no matter how well you plan. Jeff, a chemistry teacher in Minnesota, sat down after a class to plan his next unit. "Suddenly, this loud crack scared me half to death," Jeff says. "I must have jumped three feet. Let's just say one of my students had mixed something combustible! You can tell them over and over again to clean up their messes, but sometimes they don't!"
"What did I learn my first year of school? Get organized!…Even two minutes of disorganization results in complete chaos for the rest of the hour. Get organized."
— Robert T., Galveston, Texas
"Some lessons you only learn through experience."
— Joan M., Kent, Washington
"I really benefited from our state's mandated mentor system my first year teaching, especially in the area of discipline. I overcame several really difficult discipline issues with the sage advice of my mentor. I can't recommend mentoring highly enough. It gave me the foundation I needed to continue teaching through the rough spots."
— Tamara B., Michigan
"I have discovered over the years that there is no technique that always works. What was magic last week is boring this week. To that end, I frequently change the environment by rearranging furniture, updating the materials I place on my walls, and completely changing the look and feel of my classroom….Ever since I gave up the 'nailed-to-the-floor' mind-set, teaching¾and learning—have been exciting for all of us."
— Genna R., Phoenix, Arizona