Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear New Teacher

Dear New Teacher,

Welcome to the world of teaching! You are definitely in the right profession if you are looking to make a difference. You are also in the right profession if you are trying to grow your patience level! I would like to share a list of things they may not have told you in college that will make you successful:

1) Fake it till you make it! You won't know what you are doing the first couple of days, weeks, or maybe months, but DO NOT, under any circumstance, DO NOT tell your students its your first year of teaching! Make yourself sound experienced! Tell them about your "teaching experience" (that means tell them about what you student taught or observed or did from pre-classroom hours) DO NOT tell them its your first year otherwise you are in for a ride the 179 days that are left! 

2) Set reminders about paperwork. Paperwork is the least fun job about being a teacher and for some reason colleges do not like to tell you about it. They don't tell you about all the information you need to fill out on IEPs, 504's, etc. So put it on your calendar so you have all the information you need to have done by its due date, including grades being due!! 

3) ASK QUESTIONS! You might be reading these wondering, what the heck is an IEP? ask! Don't assume anything! If you don't know, just ask, and if you think you know, ask. Always ask! 

4) You are going to have some AMAZING days when you will walk out of the room and think "yep, I just changed some lives in there!" but you will also have days of disappointment. If you are doing this teaching thing right you will have invested countless hours, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into your students and their lessons. When they don't get it, or don't care, or ruin it by talking back and  deciding to go bat-crazy that day you will be disappointed. That just means that you care! Go home, pour yourself a glass of wine, and wake up the next day with a fresh start! 

5) Don't hold grudges! Some days some students will upset you, and once again thats a good thing because it shows you care. Always go in with the mindset that tomorrow is a new day and give them a fresh start! I remember being very upset with one of my students who wasn't reaching her potential and completely wrote all over my desks, chairs, walls, cussed me out, just went absolutely nuts! The next day she walked in and I greeted her with a smile on my face. She asked me, "Miss, do you hate me?" I said, "No, I love you, why do you ask?" She responded with, "Well yesterday I was really mean to you, I would hate me." I told her, "Yesterday was a rough day for the both of us, but today is new and I know we are going to have a better day. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday, I still love you." 

You don't know what some of your students are going through. LOVE THEM! Forgive them, and start with a fresh day every day! 
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The First Year Teacher

Don't get me wrong, I am NO expert. However, I recently finished my first year of teaching and I would love to share some insight for those of you who are about to experience yours, already did, or are in just need of a good laugh. 

There were some good times, bad times, success, failures, tears, smiles, and most importantly laughs. The thing I came to realize is that I actually had no idea what I was doing! My years of college, student teaching, and long-term subbing jobs did not adequately prepare me for what was about to come. The reassuring thing is that the experienced teachers didn't know what they were doing either.

Sure, some of them really knew their content and others knew how to fill out the excessive amounts of paper work that needed to be done; but the thing about working with students is that every year is different, every class is different, and every student is different. So what worked one year doesn't mean its necessarily going to work the following. Or what works in my first period doesn't mean its going to work the second. 

So you might be wondering; do teachers ever get this teaching thing figured out? The answer is no. Teachers are always learning, always growing, always trying to figure out the best method and balance of learning, laughing, and classroom management. 

So have no fear first year teachers! Every first day of school feels like the first year again. We are all in the same boat! When you walk into that room full of faces on the first day don't be alarmed if you realize you have no clue what you are going to do, because if all other teachers are being honest, they don't either ;)

* Side note: prepare a powerpoint! Those things are life savers full of information to share in case you truly have a brain fart and don't know what you are about to do! 

More tips, tricks, and stories to come! 

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