I loved coming home bone tired last night and logging on to Google Reader and learning so much about my favorite bloggers who were a part of Blog Hoppin’s teacher week. I was too late for Monday, but I wanted to join in the fun for Teacher Talk Tuesday!
I am in my third year of teaching, not including a year of subbing, and I still feel like a new teacher! I find it refreshing though, to always feel a little bit of anxiety at key times- first day of school, parent teacher conferences, report cards, meetings with the principal! Feeling like I don’t quite have it down yet is what drives me to put in so much effort outside of the classroom. Thinking like a new teacher helps you grow every year no matter how long you’ve been doing it.
Here are some thoughts on how to prepare like a new teacher, even if you are not one!
1. Read and Research! Some of you are lucky enough to have schools that offer professional development that is inspiring and useful. Even though we would all rather be in the classroom, really get involved in the training and be enthusiastic about attending. ( both physically and mentally!) Never feel like it is a waste of your time, if nothing else, you can store it in your teaching toolbox until you need it! Sometimes we are not lucky enough to be a part of great Professional development. My school offers very little. But, there are so many great books out there on teaching and inspiring kids. I was very jazzed after reading The Book Whisperer and I know many of you were as well. And if you are reading my blog right now you already have the next part of my advice down pat- search for ideas and inspiration from other teachers, in your building or online.
2. Take any donations offered to you! When anyone says “Juli, would you like…” I always answer an enthusiastic “YES!” Do your best to store and save it. You’ll need it soon. A huge part of teaching is improvising and it will don on you that you really could use 10,000 drinking straws to teach geometry. You will end up spending a huge amount of your own money over time, but collecting “trash” can really save you time and money in the end. I can not tell you how many times I have run to my odds and ends craft closet to find exactly what I needed for an activity. Heck, I even had a mom offer me a case of Emergen-C! We as teachers always need that!
3. Talk about work with your coteachers everywhere but the lounge. And eat lunch in the lounge- not in your room even though you have papers to grade. Teachers get such a small amount of time to spend together during the day. Take a break from work to recharge your batteries. Take the time to talk to your peers about what they do outside of school. You will feel so much more comfortable in school if you get to know people on a personal level. And don’t eat in your own room, or with one or two people in their room. I have worked in schools that do it both ways and the ones with the most comfortable cultures are where all teachers eat in one place. Schools are the perfect breeding ground for cliques, so don’t let yourself form one!
4. Become friends with the administrative assistant and the janitor/ maintenance man first! If you have these two people on your side, you will get the support you need to make your classroom run smoothly. Sure you will want to please your principle, but these are the two people you do not want to cross! Find what they love to eat and bake it, haha! But in reality, go out of your way to get to know the support staff too. No school can operate without them!
5. Let your students know you. Naturally I don’t mean that you should tell your students about marital problems or your body issues. But let them know your insecurities and your mistakes, they need to know you are a lot like them. Depending on the culture, SES, income level, geographic area of your students- you might fit right in, or be polar opposite, but they still have to relate. You might not know what it is like to sleep in a shelter, or live in a country where you do not know the language. But you might know what it felt like when you went on a trip to another country, or how you felt when you lost your grandma. Students don’t need to see that you overcame the same struggles they did, they just need to see that you overcame some of your own. I turn myself into the fifth grade me all the time to get across a message, “Well, when I was in fifth grade I could not remember which was the tibia and which was the fibula, so I made up this rhyme…” You can relate to them on a personal level, a school level, or simply a human level. Just let them in, let them be a part of your triumphs and failures.
I recently acquired two brand new books that I have duplicates of, so I thought it would be a perfect time for my first give away! Comment below and click to follow Teaching In Pink on Facebook, and I will enter you in a drawing for one of the books. State which book you want to be entered for and there will be two random winners on Friday!
The first book is Classroom Management in Photographs. I have mine filled with sticky notes of things to try or rearrange. This is where I first saw a version of the crate seats that have been so popular this summer. I wanted this book for a long time and was very pleased when I got it!
The second book is Ancient Egypt History Pockets Grades 4-6+. I teach Ancient Egypt in fifth grade and these pockets were awesome. They are so fun for the kids and really add to our dry textbooks. Yes, teachers are creative people who can come up with stuff just as good as you can find in any book. However, this is one of those books where the activities really great and students love them! Plus you don’t have to stay up all night Googling fifth grade Ancient Egypt projects.
Well, now I am off to glean all the great advice from you on your blogs! Good luck on the giveaway!