5 Lessons Learned from a 5th-Year Teacher

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

by: Monique Euell

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to Teachers everywhere and also my mother, Marcia, my first teacher, and the undeniable influencer in my present classroom. I believe that the greatest lesson we can learn as teachers is that we are forever learners. As my fifth year teaching comes to a close, I’ve reflected much on my journey and what I’ve gained from my experiences. Here are five lessons I have learned: 1. No two classrooms look alike. I have been blessed to work alongside some extraordinary educators. Each of them brings exactly who they are into their classroom and that’s the key to their magic. It’s so easy to get caught up in what classrooms or teachers should look like or how they should operate. We often forget that we’re called to this thing for a reason. The authenticity in our teaching and settings is so powerful.

2. Energy I bring into my classroom is everything. This may sound a bit controversial, but I try my hardest not to do anything I don’t want to do. If I have to do something I don’t want to do, I try my best to make whatever it is work for me. My kids are so intuitive. They feed off of how I feel whether I verbalize it or not. My most memorable moments with my kids are working on passion projects. “What do we love right now? “What do I believe is important for them to know that isn’t in the curriculum or standard” “How can I use this to help us learn whatever we had to learn anyway?” My energy, passion, excitement = gamechanger.

3. Self-Compassion is non-negotiable. As great teachers, we pour our “everything” into what we do. When challenges and tough times occur in our personal lives it’s easy to feel guilty about what our “everything” looks like or feels like in those moments. We aren’t always going to be at our best- but giving the best we have in whatever form that takes is what matters.

4. My tribe is essential. This work is challenging in so many different ways. Sometimes we have to vent, cry, tab-out, sit-in silence, and take a breath. Having my tribe to lean on, give insight, listen, and still hold me accountable is so much a part of why I can do this. I’m incredibly grateful for my people.

5. Love sets the foundation. Love is and should be the root of what we do. If ever that shifts, no other efforts will succeed. If my kids don’t know that I genuinely love them, the academics are irrelevant and I’ve failed in my purpose. I’ll share a quote shared with me from my very first year teaching that has stuck with me ever since.

“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” - Dr. Asa Hilliard Monique Euell IG: @MissEuell

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