Ok, so I had the idea for this blog last night, as I was falling asleep with a head full of wine and all the little gems I've learned in teaching training so far/reading all kinds of teacher books. And I figured out I could make some money by writing a book of my own that corny teachers everywhere would love. Someone will try to come along and steal my ideas from this blog, but don't even try because I'm already in talks with a publisher.
Everything I Need To Know About Teaching I Learned From My Bad Cat
- Don't back down. My cat, Ferg, loves to do things she isn't supposed to. Like jump up on the kitchen counter, use Eric's bass amp as a scratching post, and pee on bath mats. The only thing that works with her is a stern voice to tell her "No" and picking her up to remove her from whatever she's doing. With students, I'm going to need a good stern voice and the balls to say, "move to that desk over there" (students are quite a bit heavier than Ferg).
- The learning curve is gradual. Ferg isn't the best at learning something the first time. So I'm patient with her (to Eric's dismay). I need to get a patient attitude toward the learning curve in my class. I've got some big ideas about books and poems to teach, but I need to see what the kids can do first.
- Be the one who cares. Without being the "martyr teacher" that will save lives, care about the students. Or try to. Nobody loves Ferg. It's understandable because she bites and scratches people. Even me. But I care about her anyway, despite her biting. Oh and some people call her fat, which isn't really fair.
- Stick around. Ferg lived in the streets before I got her. She was rescued by a friend of mine, who didn't think about the fact that at the end of grad school she'd be moving to Paris and couldn't take a cat. So I got her. At first it seemed like Ferg didn't really trust people. But I convinced her that she would even move to Brooklyn with me. I need to get my students to trust me and to commit to them that I'm not going to quit. It's highly likely they will have had several teachers subbing for them when I take over the class. I have to let them know I'm not going anywhere.
I think there's probably more parallels. I'll save them for a part II.