Summer is here, which means less teaching for the education staff. We still have summer programs, but we are not as busy in July and August. The lighter teaching schedule gives me a little down time to breathe, work on the website, and reflect on my teaching this year.
As a teacher I always look for ways to improve my skills, but teaching seems to be one of those skills that you can learn, but never master. It requires the person to play a balancing act of delivering content, keeping attention of the group, and still be entertaining.
When I started teaching in 2004 I thought I had it all figured out, I would be the fun teacher always looking for ways to get the kids interested with pop culture references, because really I was not that much older than them. But as you read in my first post no matter how much “fun” I was, I was still the teacher, making me un-cool no matter what I did. It has taken me a long time to realize, its not always making everything fun, its about being yourself. When I stopped trying to do all the work to reach them, letting them make effort to connect with me too, it all got easier.
When I stepped out of the classroom and into the museum world in 2010, all that came crashing down. I now only had 90 mins to make that connection and reach the kids, instead of the whole school year. I had to let go of my quiet nature, becoming a little louder, and a little more animated. I also had to learn to block out the adults in the room, something that took me a while, because it was not easy to make squirrel and bear noises during story time in front of parents and teachers.
Changing from classroom to museum has overall made me a better teacher. I have had to hone the lessons and words I use, crafting them into a fun program that still has jokes and little stories, but learning to use them in the right places. Although like any teacher I am happy summer is here, getting the chance to take a break, but I can honestly say I can’t wait for the kids to come back in September.