My Teaching Style Metaphor

I've come across several great lists where people compare teaching to other things.
It got me thinking. But not just about what teaching is like.
Instead, I started thinking about my own TEACHING STYLE and how it is unique to me.

My teaching style metaphor: PIZZA! This is such a fun way to think about what I do as an elementary science teacher. Self-reflection | Humor | Food
So today I share with you...
Why I think my teaching style is a pizza!
Keep reading...
I know you're curious.

Whether I'm making a pizza from scratch at home or waiting for one to be delivered from my favorite pizza place, it is NEVER ready fast enough. I find myself checking the dough over and over to make sure it really IS rising under that warm towel. I often pull it out of the oven too soon (leaving the middle of the crust doughy) because I can't wait any longer. And when I order it to be delivered? I'm constantly watching the clock, counting down the minutes until the doorbell rings. Then when it's delivered, my mouth starts to water just from the smell. As soon as I shut the door, I'm digging into the box to grab a slice before even sitting down.

Must. Eat. Pizza. Now!

My teaching style can be the same.

Let's be honest. Any teacher who feels they have enough time to accomplish everything they'd like to each day is lying. Or they are WAY more organized than I am. I feel like I can never get everything I had planned to teach actually taught in the amount of time I have with each class. I always feel like I am rushing through my lessons, frantically trying to get to the next topic. (see #2) And while I definitely struggle to get out of bed each morning - I really love my pillow - I also get excited when my students get to class. I'm impatient as I wait for the morning announcements to finish. I hurry through any paperwork so I can get right to the meat of that day's lesson. I admit that sometimes I even forget to take attendance because I'm so focused on starting an activity!

Ever bite into a slice of pizza only to realize (too late) that the roof of your mouth is burning? That you should have waited a couple extra minutes to be sure it was ready to devour?
Um, yeah. So do I.
Every. Single. Time. (see #1)

My teaching style is similar.

If I get impatient and jump into a lesson too quickly or move on to the next topic before students have a good solid understanding, it only ends up coming back to bite me later. I find that students aren't able to apply the concepts in a new situation. Or they totally bomb a test I thought they were ready for. I promise that I know it really IS best to introduce ideas in a methodical fashion through scaffolded lessons and activities. But I get so darn excited and I want to fit everything in. And I have so many ideas and ways that I want the students to interact with the information. (see #3) I just find myself diving in full speed ahead.

Must. Learn. To. Slow. Down.

Growing up, my pizza toppings pretty much consisted of pepperoni and cheese. As I've gotten older, I have expanded my interests to include so many more topping combinations and even a few unique specialty pizzas. There is just so much to choose from! It's wonderful, really. Unless I'm ordering pizza and my kids all want something different. Then it can be a headache. Those are the times I like making personal pizzas at home. Each kiddo gets to "decorate" their pizza exactly how they like it. the perfect fit for their picky taste buds.

My teaching style is like that too.

When I first started teaching, I was careful to follow the curriculum that was purchased by the school. I taught what was in the textbook in the way it was suggested. I did my best to get students excited about learning, but I will admit that my lessons were often dry and repetitive. If you know me now, you're probably shocked by this revelation.

Now? I have come to realize that every single student needs something different. Learning styles? Too many to even count. While I would love to let each kid in my class "decorate" their lessons exactly the way they would like, I also have to be reasonable. So my compromise is that I do my best to incorporate as many different ways of teaching a concept as possible. I vary my grouping strategies. Individual, partners, small groups, whole group. I change up the method of delivery - sometimes several times within one lesson. Lecture, note-taking, short video clips, independent work, visuals, artistic representations, comparisons and analogies, jigsaw learning, student directed projects, homework, classwork, written responses, quick checks for understanding on white boards, hands-on investigations, teacher demonstrations, STEM challenges. Whew. Good times. But seriously exhausting. (see #4) Also totally worth it! (see #5)

Thank. Goodness. For. Pinterest.
I've got some boards that are seriously PACKED with ideas for each topic that I teach.
Have a look!

Sure, I love a good store bought pizza most of the time. But sometimes I really, really, crave a home-made deep dish pizza with all of my favorite seasonings and toppings. And for that, it takes some work. I've really got to be prepared to spend some time in order to end up with a really tasty pizza. If I don't let the dough rise enough, the crust will not be light and crispy. If I don't take the time to add some olive oil and spices, the sauce will taste bland. If I don't crumble the sausage, separate the pepperoni slices, arrange each topping carefully, and top the pizza with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese, I won't be satisfied with the results. (see #5)

My teaching style fits this comparison as well.

I recently had my academic coach visit my classroom to watch me teach a lesson. At the end, she stopped to thank me and tell me that she enjoyed her time in my room. She mentioned how engaged the students were throughout the lesson and how much fun she had observing me teach. I shared my concerns that I felt my lesson was fragmented and too fast-paced. She assured me that everything flowed seamlessly together and that I made it look effortless. What a relief! Luckily she understands that teaching is NOT as easy as it seems from the outside. Can anyone really understand the time, effort, planning, researching, and (quite frankly) performing that goes into each lesson if they have never taught themselves? No way! But that's the beauty of my teaching style, I guess. As crazy as I might feel during the presentation of each concept, it comes out looking well rehearsed and "easy" to others.

It's been a long day. I'm so tired. And hungry. Because, let's face it, I was too busy to eat anything at lunchtime. Again. So I rush home eager to have dinner. Only to find that there is nothing appetizing left to eat in the house. My solution? Order a pizza! I once got this text from my son:
My teaching style metaphor: PIZZA! This is such a fun way to think about what I do as an elementary science teacher. Self-reflection | Humor | Food
Pretty much sums of my feelings about pizza too. Frozen, homemade, or delivery. It's all good.

My teaching style usually matches this description.

I have my ups and downs. Good days and bad. Tiring weeks and easy ones. Difficult students and little angels. Angry parents and supportive ones. Successful lessons and total busts. (see #2) But despite all of this? I can't imagine a job more important or rewarding than teaching. If I can just make an impact on one student, it's worth it. Honestly. As my son so aptly stated, "I could eat frozen pizza for every meal be a teacher for the rest of my life and live a full, happy life."

So, tell me...
Leave a comment to share your teaching style metaphor. Or leave a link to a blog post so I can read all about it!
My teaching style metaphor: PIZZA! This is such a fun way to think about what I do as an elementary science teacher. Self-reflection | Humor | Food
One last confession: I totally had pizza for dinner tonight! ;)


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