About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.
I remember when I taught my first lesson as an English teacher in Thailand I was so nervous. I was standing in front of a classroom full of rambunctious teenagers. My knees where shaking I remember.
Luckily for me I had a more experienced teacher with me in the classroom to make sure I didn’t screw everything up. I was thinking to myself,
“hell’s you doin’ here boy, you an accountant, not a teacher.”
One of the boys in the back proceeds to crumple up a piece of paper and throw it at another boy. The other teacher ignores it and continues to lecture these teens that they need to respect me & that from here on out they answer to me (gulp😨).
“Where is Mr. R!?” Shouts another brazen boy.
Mr. R was their teacher last year that got run out of the classroom (figuratively).
(I learn later on that the long standing teachers here thought this 9th grade class was the most challenging group of students they’ve seen in over a decade. Surprise newbie🤗)
All my teachers were gone, now it was up to me to impersonate them & reign in defiant youths. Big boots to fill for an introverted accountant that’s always been told he needs to, “come out of his shell.”
Besides the obvious fear, I also felt insecure & inadequate. Which takes me back to Tony Robbins Awaken the Giant Within and how Jules Evans talks about how these self judgement are opinions and not objective facts:
Inadequate: You don’t have the needed skills for the task at hand, you need more understanding, information, strategies, tools or confidence
Solution: Find a role model
I was never trained to be a teacher, being that I was one now, I had to make things happen. I looked back to my past teachers and ripped them off.
Mr. Pau, my 6th grade Chinese teacher, my favorite teacher, he had a way of teaching vocabulary to the point where what he taught me over a decade ago, I still remember. His vocabulary techniques, I took them and made them my own.
Coach Papa, my 12th grade Econ teacher. He was a controversial guy. He made the papers a few years back because he said… well he said some things he wasn’t supposed to. Coach Papa had good jokes though, one involved whenever a student asked to go to the bathroom, he would put a bucket in the middle of the classroom and told them that was the toilet. I took this one step further and labeled the bucket “toilet.” I got much fewer restroom requests after that. Of course I became a controversial teacher too (I must have averaged a complaint a week.)
Insecure: Use of a false measuring stick, thinking that we should be “good” without putting in the effort nor acknowledging the process behind that competence.
Solution: Try, fail, learn, repeat. Acknowledge that you don’t know everything and that slip-ups are temporary
So I remember when I poured a bucket of water onto the head of one of those 9th grade boys.
Yeah that didn’t work.
I lost control of the class as everyone was scrambling to get mops to clean things up. I wasn’t a traditional teacher, so expecting to be the best teacher in the world from the get go was an unreasonable ask. I was tackling a new and & alien profession, of course there were going to be slip ups (figuratively, not from the water I used to hose down the kids.)
In the end I think I became pretty decent. Of course don’t take my word for it, here are the student survey results (in graphs) of what they thought of “Mr. Kingston.”
9th Grade End of Year Survey Results + My Assessment (everybody’s favorite class)
That was one of my implementations of all the personal development books I read in college that became Wiser Next Week. I told myself and I mentioned in the book I’d spend less time reading and more taking action. I’ve executed on those words.
At least, I’ve tried anyways.
Here is the “On Emotions” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.
*Image at the top is a bit extreme, it never got that bad. I was the only one that stood on top of a desk.