Here it is day two of Teacher Week at I'm Blog Hoppin'. The topic today is advice for "newbies". Since I've only been teaching for two and a half years, so I guess I'm kind of still a "newbie". This is what I've learned during my teaching experiences...and hopefully it will be useful advice for someone! :)
1. Make friends with your grade level: Get to know them personally, and don't be afraid to ask them questions or ask them for advice. At my old school it was very obvious which grade levels did not work well with each other. I was so blessed when I taught first grade last year because my grade level and I instantly became best friends! We not only talked at school--we would text at night and go out to eat sometimes! We worked together so well and it showed with our students' test scores! I still consider all four of them my mentors!
2. Make friends with the whole staff: While it's important to get to know everyone at your school make sure you stay away from gossip!
3. Ask a veteran teacher to sit in on parent conferences: I asked a fellow first grade teacher to sit in on a conference with a very particular parent. My cohort was more than happy to help me! This not only benefitted me, but also the parent. The parent was able to hear advice from two first grade teachers!
4. Stay organized: If your organized then you will feel prepared.
5. Classroom Management is SO important: Establish your rules and procedures from day one and stick to them. If you find that your behavior mangement system doesn't work well--change it! I changed mine in the middle of the year last year and it worked wonders. I love the clip chart system.
6. Plan--Have a well thought out lesson plan, and always have extra copies just in case. If you think the lesson will last 20 minutes plan for 30 or 40 just in case. Anything you don't use can always be put into a sub folder or used for another day. Keep calm and pretend this is on the lesson plan. I saw this quote on Pinterest. It's so true! Sometimes your lesson plans don't turn out how you planned...but I learned that you just need to go with the flow! Once I was being observed by my principal for a math lesson and my well thought out lesson plan did not work as planned! I had planned on using the ELMO, and my bulb was dead....so I just had to teach on and make my plan work.
7. Stay true to your word: If you tell your class you are going to do something do it. Don't let them see that you can't follow through! Kids pick up quickly on things like that!
8. Parent communication is important: Communicate with parents to let them know what is going on in their child's class. Send home weekly grades, skills agendas or weekly newsletter, behavior charts, etc. I like to send home little notes to students that are always good...and just brag on them. I also like to send a little note to a student and his/her parents when I have seen improvement!
9. Grading papers: This was something I really struggled with my first year. I thought "if I'm going to make them complete this two page math worksheet I need to grade it!". What happened was that I was overloaded with papers to grade--classwork, homework, and then weekly tests on top of that! That really stressed me out...and then I learned I didn't have to grade everything. I liked having grades besides tests--but I didn't have to make everything a grade. I finally got smart and made homework in math and reading due on Fridays. Then I just checked to see that my students completed the work and gave them what I called "participation points". Which took a couple of minutes to put into the gradebook and I was done!
10. ENJOY IT!!! We are called to be teachers, so enjoy what you do! Enjoy the hugs, the smiles, the funny things they say, the little "flowers" they bring you, their artwork. If you enjoy what you do, then the students will enjoy learning!
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