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Teaching: 26 Things You Didn’t Learn in College

November 3, 2019 by Emily

For some of us, our education courses are fresh in our minds, for others it has been awhile.  No matter how long ago you graduated, there are definitely some real-life classroom experiences we’ve had that were NOT taught in college.  We asked our group of colleagues what they wish they’d known before stepping into the classroom.  The responses we received are listed below… Please share your response in the comments section at the end of the blog.

Making So Many Copies


We all know the horror felt when we run out of “clicks”! LOL

Or… how upset we are when we need those last minute copies for the day and see the “out of toner” sign! ARGH!!!

Training Yourself To Use the Bathroom Only Once a Day


Thank goodness for colleagues that can stand in the doorway while you run to the bathroom!  The struggle is REAL!

How to Actually Apply for a Job and Ace the Interview


Scheduling an interview, filling out paperwork for HR, acing the interview questions are all SCARY things!

Arranging Classroom Furniture

It literally took me the first three years of teaching before I learned the best way to arrange my classroom furniture.

Lots of trial and error, and those little kiddos sure do find ALL of the places they can hide!!!

Teaching Reading!

We had the reading classes in college, but they were all theory.  Your suggestions included… PHONICS 101, The Teacher’s Guide to Guided Reading Groups, Phonemic Awareness (Hearing Sounds), Writing With Young Students

We have a couple blogs that may offer some assistance!

Implementing Literacy Centers  Teaching Emergent Writers  Freshen Up Your Phonics  Teaching Emergent Readers


 Standards, Differentiation, Adopted Curriculum

Here is your teacher’s manual, please align your standards, ensuring that you’ve differentiated for all levels of students, and don’t forget to find some supplemental curriculum… OMG!!!

What is a “Planning Period”?

Those illusive “planning periods”… never seem to work out the way we hope.  Instead someone stops us to ask a “quick question”, or we have a million emails to answer, or a parent calls at just the right time.  For some reason or another the work we wanted to “get done” didn’t happen.

Head Lice!!!

This needs no explanation… I know that you all are scratching your heads at just the mention of it. LOL

Avoiding the Burnout

Finding that balance between work and life can be so difficult, but must happen.  We burnout so easily with all of the heart and soul we put into our teaching.  Do something special for yourself, you definitely deserve it!!

Nice Handwriting is a Necessity

“Teacher what does that say?”… nice handwriting is a must, especially for young learners.  Think of all the name plates, cubby tags, and daily agendas we write in a year.  Oh yes, and I wish that college offered Drawing Basics 101.  Little kids can be such critics of our stick figures. LOL

Copy Machine and Laminator Repair

I’m pretty sure that no where in our job description does it state that we must have knowledge of fixing a copier or laminator.  Yet we find ourselves having to do it often…

Dealing with the HUGE Behaviors

There were a few examples of classroom management systems (clip charts, red/yellow/green cards, etc.), but what about those “serious” behaviors in class.  Where was the course on that?  YIKES!

Getting ALL of the Paperwork Done With a Smile

My hand is cramping just thinking of all of the paperwork… AGH!

The Technology

In this day and age we are lucky to have a plethora of technological tools to help us teach.  For those of us who are tech illiterate, it can be system overload.  And please help us when technology doesn’t work during a lesson.

The Heart Breakers…

Nothing in the world can prepare us for the first day we have to mandatory report to CPS.  There isn’t a class to teach us how to find jackets, shoes, backpacks, etc. for kids whose families cannot afford them.  The sadness we feel when listening to children from bad homes share their stories.

Lock Down Drills

Unfortunately this is a harsh reality…  They are scary for both teachers and the students and there isn’t much we can say to alleviate the anxiety felt when having a lock down drill.

Scary Administration

All I have to say is that sticky note in your mailbox or the email that just says… “See me.” YIKES!!!

Zippers and Tying Shoes

If only everyone could wear velcro… LOL

Special Education Requirements

All of the required paperwork and data collection that goes into the IEP process can seem a daunting task.  But definitely one that is well worth the effort when a student gets the supports they need!

Cute Bulletin Boards

When that wonderful Pinterest bulletin board you envisioned doesn’t turn out quite the way you planned…

Class Parties (How to Survive Them)

We love to see the excitement on their faces, but man it is EXHAUSTING!!!


The kids stress out, we stress out… who says we have to give assessments?!  It’s all just too much!


We sing in the halls, to clean up, to say good-bye for the day, to come to the carpet, and the list goes on and on…

Time Management

It seems to be getting harder and harder to cover all of the standards each school year. There just isn’t enough time!

College Practice Lesson Isn’t Real Life

All of our practice lessons went so well in college.  Wish it happened that way in real classrooms.  HAHAHA

And Drum Roll Please… PARENTS

Mic drop… LOL

We hope that you got a giggle out of some of these.  Maybe we should all get together and open our own university with this course load. (wink/wink)  Please if you have your own “I wish they would have taught me…” leave it in the comments below.

Written by Janessa Fletcher

At Education to the Core, we provide done-for-you curriculum that is simple, fun, and effective! We want you to be the very best teacher you can be, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In order to be an effective educator, you have to take care of you first!

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