Monday, July 30, 2012

Advice for New Teachers

Today's post is inspired by Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6 (one of my most favorite blogs!).  Today she shared a really encouraging post about when she was a first year teacher.  I think that every teacher remembers their first year of teaching.  Lots of difficulties and stress and things you aren't prepared for.  (Hopefully that isn't discouraging to you- I just want to let you know that it is normal to feel that way and that others feel that way too! :)

So, I am linking up with her blog today to share a few pieces of advice from things that I've learned in my 6 years of teaching.  Hopefully it will help you :)  And after you're done reading my post, click on the picture below to check out the post on Stephanie's page to find lots more good advice for new teachers!, education, upper grade, 5th grade, 4th grade

1.  Whatever you go through in your first year of teaching, know that you are NOT ALONE. 
Believe me when I say that new teachers all over the world are dealing with some of the same feelings and issues you are dealing with.  It's ok!  It's normal!

2.  Find another teacher that you can talk to on a personal level.   
I was blessed to have 4 good friends who were also teachers and we all taught our first year at the same time!  We would get together once a month just to hang out.  We would talk about everything going on at school and help each other out with ideas and things that worked for us.  But I think the best thing about having 4 friends who were first year teachers was that I realized that they were dealing with the same things I was going through.  It made me feel less stressed and more normal... and helped me to realize that even though I wasn't a great teacher, that I wasn't a failure either.

3.  Read the book, The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemarry Wong & take their advice to heart.  Follow what they say to do in the book!  
My college professors told us to read that book... and I didn't listen.  I actually just recently read it- MAN!  I totally wish I would have read this BEFORE I first started teaching.  It's funny, because I actually do most of the things that they suggest in the book- only I learned that I needed to do that stuff the hard way.  There are SO MANY great ideas.  It is definitely worth a read.  

4.  Classroom Management is KEY.  
If you can't keep your students in order, you will not get much teaching done.  Spend your first week mostly going over your classroom and school procedures and routines.  (If you are not sure what procedures and routines you should have in your classroom, The First Days of School has a GREAT list on page 193 to get you started.  You may not need all of these procedures, but I think it is a great list for ANY teacher.)  Don't worry too much about curriculum the first week.  And after the first week, continue having your students practice your procedures and routines for at least the first month of school.  If they can learn your procedures and routines, then your class will flow more smoothly the rest of the year!

5.  Make sure to ask for help.
I know this is a repeat of advice from Stephanie's blog, however, it is SO important.  Before the school year starts (I'd even say before your teacher's meetings start), make a list of questions to ask your mentor teacher, principal or the office ladies about the school's expectations, procedures, etc.  This way you will not be going through your day and a question comes up and you have no idea what to do.  (For example: field trips- how far in advance do your lunch ladies need a lunch count in order to order food for sack lunches for your field trip?  If you don't know the answer to this in advance, this might cause a problem for you being able to get sack lunches for your field trip or if you can get them, it could cause frustration between you and the lunch ladies for not getting the order to them soon enough.)  Now don't let this stress you out- there is no way you can ask EVERY question before you will need the answer.  However, if you have a good list of questions to start off with, then it will reduce the number of times situations like the one above will occur. 

Also, don't be afraid to ask. (I know some of you look at that statement and laugh, because you are not afraid to ask anything to anyone! :) But for some of you, you might be afraid to ask because you don't want to seem like a bad teacher or you don't want to bother someone with your questions.  Please know that you ARE NOT a bother!  And no one has it all together!  I'm sure I asked the office ladies 5 questions a day (at least) for the first semester I taught during my first year of teaching.  They always were polite and answered all of my questions!  HERE is a list of questions that I've come up with to ask when you are new to a school district to get you started.

Hope this is helpful!  If you have taught and would like to share some advice for new teachers, you can link up with Stephanie's blog by clicking the link above, or you may leave a comment below!   Thanks so much for reading!

Marking my spot,