The 10 Paradoxes of Teaching

by | Sep 17, 2019

Teaching is more than a profession, it’s an experience and it’s one unlike any other. It’s filled with strange occurrences, hilarious conversations, lots of paradoxes.

Paradox- A seemingly impossible, but true contradiction.

We can share with our friends and family but really only other teachers truly understand what it’s like and how true these paradoxes really are.

Make sure to scroll to the bottom for this week’s Infographic.

1.The Failure Paradox 

Failure leads to success.

This failure paradox is true because the more someone fails is proof of their continual attempts and the more someone tries the more successes they will attain. This is as important of a lesson to students as it is for the educators. 

2. The Love Them All Paradox 

Those that are the hardest to love need love most of all. 

A student who has defenses that make him/her seem “unreachable” often do so because of past trauma and a need for nurture. 

3. The Uphill Paradox 

The more challenging the task the more rewarding the accomplishment. 

Teaching students to lean in and dig deep is hard – trusting it in ourselves can be even harder. 

4. The Multi-tasking Paradox 

The more we try to take on at once the less effective and efficient we become. 

Check out this article about Monotasking in Teaching for more info. 

5. The  PD Paradox

Professional development’s intent is to train you to be a better teacher by pulling you away from your teaching duties. 

6.The Listen to Yourself Paradox 

Teachers are great at giving advice but not taking their own advice.

Check out this article called, “What If Teacher Took Their Own Advice? Could It Change How we Teach?”.  

7. The “Try-hard” Paradox   

The harder you try the bigger the target you become. 

If you want something, go for it, but know that all eyes are on you – this goes for getting a new classroom, a change in schedule, a change in role.  

When I taught middle school students would call each other “try-hards” as a put-down. 

8. The Summer Paradox  

We want summer break and to stay in school.  

Hear me out. There is never enough time. The work is never done. And when summer is over we both don’t want it to end and can’t wait to step back into the classroom. 

9. The Job Satisfaction Paradox  

The more you love teaching the more it stresses you out.

Loving a career in teaching is a sign of commitment – you are fully “in”, passionate, and devoted – which makes setbacks, heartbreak, and stress hit even harder. 

10. The Paradox Paradox

The more we try to figure things out the more nothing makes sense.

You’ve been there before. The more time you spend mastering a skill, implementing a strategy, digging deep the more you recognize all the nuances and aspects that need more attention.

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