Ten Things We Wished We Had Known about Teaching before Changing Careers

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On Sunday, September 16th, Louise and I presented at Columbia’s chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma for first meeting of the school year. Delta Kappa Gamma is an educational sorority for women educators – click here to read more about this organization.  We were asked to speak on the role of an educational consultant and ended up talking about the Ten Things We Wished We Had Known about Teaching before Changing Careers:

1. Elementary children come to school wanting to be successful, wanting to please you and really do want to be liked by teachers and other students.  This is the time teachers plant the love of learning into their lives. They do not come to school to make teacher’s  lives miserable–if a child is acting out or displaying behaviors that are distracting, you need to assess for an early learning problem to intervene quickly. Don’t be quick to assume the child is just bad.

2. Every professional field has its own lingo and abbreviations. I used to think educators were the worse about abbreviations but the people who work in psychology and the therapeutic field  really have their own communication system. 

3. ADHD can permeate a child’s life and the life of the family. Often mothers feel alienated at school because their child is a discipline problem in the classroom when all they really want to do is help their child be successful. We have tested students who are diagnosed with ADHD and medicated when they are so smart they have really masked their learning problem(s).  How sad that a child can go through school with untreated dyslexia and he has been mistreated for attention problems.

4. Be knowlegdgeable about mental illness, mood disorders and learning differences and how to recognize their early signs.

5. Be sympathetic towards students with Aspergers or a non-verbal learning disorder and helped them feel more comfortable socially.

6. Know medications because some doctors so often generously prescribe a cocktail of medications and you don’t really know who the student is off of medication.

7. Recognize the early signs of depression, anxiety, and how closely they are related to each other.

8. Know how to interpret a Psychoeducational report to help students learn using their strengths and also to be aware of their weaknesses.

9. Know about assisted technology and introduce the students on how it is used to assist learning differences.

10. Realize how much parents will put up with before asking for professional help. The Price Group recently helped a young man who was stealing money, sneaking out at night with the family car, smoking, using the parent’s credit cards, cutting school, smoking pot in the house,  and stealing from the neighbors and the parents were concerned they were over-reacti

 – May D. Peach

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