Three Lessons Learned While Painting That Transfer To Teaching

Here's what I learned while painting houses that transfer to teaching.

Three Lessons Learned While Painting That Transfer To Teaching
Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist / Unsplash

I’ve been an 8th-grade science teacher for 23 years. For those 23 years, I’ve painted houses every summer. I started painting because I needed the money. I continue painting because it’s a great contrast to teaching and the crew is made up of guys who are fun to work with. In teaching, we sometimes never see our results, but after a day of painting the results are immediately visible. Here are three lessons learned while painting that transfer to teaching.

  • Thorough planning paves the way for successful lessons and productivity.
  • Continuing education increases learning outcomes.
  • It’s hard to do a good job without a quality crew.

📔 Thorough Planning Paves the Way for Successful Lessons and Productivity

When you pull up to a paint job you need to be prepared. If you’re missing any necessary supplies time is wasted and the quality of the end product will suffer. The same carries over to teaching. Taking time to plan ahead and anticipate outcomes and needs pays off in increased student engagement and improved classroom management. Not to mention, one good lesson can be used in various forms year after year.

🤔 Continuing Education Increases Learning Outcomes

In painting, if you don’t know what you’re doing you can damage a customer’s siding or worse. Also, taking the time to learn about new products and painting methods can help produce better results, often in less time. This idea transfers to teacher professional development. The things I learned while pursuing my Master’s degree, attending conferences, and reading professional literature have made me a better teacher. This improves student learning outcomes. Teaching stays fresh and interesting when I approach it like a scientist and use the classroom as a laboratory.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 It's hard to do a good job without a quality crew.

Painting alone is not fun. It’s slow and lonely. Working with a crew is more efficient and more enjoyable. Teaching is just like that. I know that I’ve been blessed to work with a great team of teachers since my first year. A team can help you weather a storm and provide valuable feedback and assistance. I wish that all new teachers were blessed to be placed on a highly functional team. Find people in your school building that help build you up and that can offer professional guidance. If that’s challenging in your building, find a community on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit that might do the same. Painting alone is not fun. Teaching alone is not fun either.

One more thing is true for both painting and teaching, the longer you do it the better you get. If you are a teacher I hope you hang in there. Your colleagues and students need you.

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