This week, I'm going to be linking up to this blog for Teacher Week. This is a new blog where teachers can get together and share ideas. You should totally go check it out if you're a teacher! The topic for today is Advice for New Teachers. So, here's what I would tell any new teacher...
1. Buy band-aids. I mean, it sounds so simple. But, I forget them every year. And, for kids, nothing makes them feel better when they get a boo-boo (and believe me, they get lots of boo-boos) than to get a Toy Story band-aid to make it all better.
2. Don't beat yourself up. My first year, I got frustrated alot with myself because I wasn't able to do alot of the things my co-workers did. I just felt so frazzled and frantic all the time and I couldn't find the right words to explain things to my kids effectively. But, all that stuff comes with experience. Every year, it gets easier and easier. I promise.
3. Move those clips! Those little kids are so cute and so sweet. They will steal your heart so fast! But, you aren't doing them any favors if you let them get away with behaviors that aren't acceptable. And, honestly, it's so much easier to be firm in the beginning and eventually ease up a little than to be the "cool teacher" whose kids are running down the hallway. And here's the thing: the kids will still love you and hug you if you move their clips. They thrive on consistent and clear expectations.
4. Find a buddy to plan with. Let's face it. Making lesson plans is a huge job. And my first year, I was completely overwhelmed with it. I had no idea what kinds of things my first graders could and should do. I had no idea what a typical day in first grade even looked like! It's such a huge help to find a more experienced teacher to buddy-up with. After a few weeks of experience, you'll be able to offer a lot of input as well. Planning together makes a tough task a lot less daunting and a lot more fun!
5. Use the internet to help you. There are so many good ideas out there. And there's no reason to re-invent the wheel. Get online and use the valuable resources available. Blogs, Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are FABULOUS! It's silly not to use them.
6. If they tell you they have to use the restroom, they do. Just sayin.
7. Be creative. I used to feel like it was a waste of time if I had my kids create things and cut out a lot of stuff with construction paper. But, I've come to realize that stuff is really important. Especially for little kids. They need oppurtunities to make things and be creative. They need to learn to follow verbal directions and use scissors and glue correctly. And, having them create something and then write about it, is totally ok! Just don't do it every day :)
8. Have fun! I will be the first to admit that after my third year of teaching, I was totally miserable. I just wasn't feeling it. I had burnt myself out in three years. So, last year, I made a concious effort to enjoy the kids and enjoy my job. I decided to let the little things that were making me crazy go. Instead of making kids pay me with tickets to sharpen their pencil and never letting them do it themselves, I just let them get up and sharpen their pencils when they needed to. (After asking, of course. I didn't relax THAT much!) Instead of doing the same old activities, I decided to search for new activities on blogs that were more fun. Instead of handing out worksheets all day, I decided it was more fun to keep those kiddos at the carpet and teach them myself. And, guess what? I had the BEST year last year! You just have to make sure you're having fun. And if you aren't, take a good look at what you're doing and make changes. If you are spending your days with six year olds and you aren't laughing and enjoying them, something is wrong. Make it right. You'll feel so much better.
Okay, that's all I've got. Good luck on your school year!