Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Today's topic for Teacher Week is advice for new teachers!

It's pretty ironic that I'd be writing about this because last week I took a class on mentoring novice teachers! I learned so much from the class and I am very excited to one day mentor a new teacher! There is so much to learn about being a teacher, but I'll try to narrow it down to a reasonable number! With that said, here are my

Top Pieces of Advice for New Teachers:

1.) Get organized!

It definitely takes time to develop an organizational system that will work for you as a teacher, but it is so important to keep your files, papers, lessons, and activities organized.

I found this bin at Lakeshore Learning Center and it has been so helpful! I use one of the bins for each of the subjects I teach: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and Miscellaneous, which is where I'll store extra supplies or morning work activities. (Don't worry, another teacher teaches my students Social Studies-- we didn't leave that out of our curriculum, I promise!)

I have also seen teachers who use this bin and label it with the days of the week, putting whatever they need for that day in the bin. It may take some time trying something out and seeing what works for you--everyone has a different way of staying organized!

2.) Ask questions and collaborate!

Seek out the veteran teachers--they are a great resource for lesson ideas, advice and suggestions. I was so fortunate to be given a super mentor teacher who helped me SO much during my first year teaching. (and my second...and my third...haha..) The other teachers on my team are also incredibly helpful and were such a support for me during the beginning of my teaching career--I asked questions all the time and it really helped.  Even if your school or district doesn't have official "mentors", other teachers will be willing to help you, so don't hesitate to ask! You can learn so much by working with other teachers--you will grow as a teacher, which will benefit your students greatly!

3.) Be flexible!

It's important to realize that some things may occur unexpectedly or don't go as you've planned them--and that is okay! Sometimes, a lesson might take longer than you have expected or the students might need more instruction on a certain aspect of the lesson. Other times, the lesson may go quicker than you thought it might. It's important to be as prepared as you can for those little unexpected moments! (Like, for example, when a HUGE stink bug starts flying all around your classroom right in the middle of a science experiment-- true story..:) )

3.) Spend time going over rules and procedures!

At the very beginning of the year, I spend time going over procedures for the classroom: how to line up, how to push in their chairs, where backpacks are hung up, how to walk in the hallway, cafeteria procedures, and behavior expectations! I take the students on a "tour" of the classroom and walk around the room, showing them where everything is.  It really makes a big difference for the students to know what is expected of them and how things will be done during the year. I do also occasionally need to do a little refresher on some of the procedures at different times during the school year, but otherwise, it seems to help!

4.) Be involved in your school and get to know your colleagues! 

Eat lunch in the teacher's lounge, go to social events, get involved in school activities. I have really loved getting to know the other teachers at my school. They are so friendly and sweet. It is such a happy environment to work in--I am so lucky! Participate in school spirit days, go to school events, and try to find ways to get involved! It really makes a difference in how connected you will feel to the students, your co-workers, and the school community!

We had so much fun dressing up as characters from Harry Potter on our "Dress like Your Favorite Book Character" day! 

And in our pajamas for Read Across America/Pajama Day!

(Oh, and a quick side note: it's not at all embarrassing when you dress in  your PJs for a school spirit day and that just happens to be the same day that a guest speaker comes to your class, a guest speaker who happens to be male, around your age, quite good-looking and kind of confused as to why you are in pajamas at work..nope, not at ALL embarrassing! Hah!)

5.) Be patient, calm and show your students how much you care about them! 

I give my students positive encouragements every now and then. Sometimes I will give them stickers, erasers or pencils around various holidays and seasons or bake them a treat. At the end of each quarter, I write my students a note congratulating them on a successful quarter (Okay, I'm a total sap, I know! Haha).  

Last year, I went to New York City with two of my awesome friends/co-workers and bought the students in my class each a "I Heart NYC" pencil. One of my students said, "I can't believe you thought about us enough on your trip to buy us pencils!" SO sweet! Aww! You don't necessarily have to buy them things, but I just like to give them little reminders that I care about them! :)

Love my co-workers! And NYC! :)


Cortney said...

Of course spirit week always falls when an important person comes t campus, it's Murphy's law. We had a person come on crazy hair day and I'm pretty sure I was hard to take seriously with my wild hair going on.

Ashleigh said...

You have a great list! Don't you just love pajama day!


Mme Chiasson said...

I love your Harry Potter costumes! That's a great list. I think you'll make a wonderful mentor. It's so hard to find the best organizational system that works for you. I've tried a few different ones and haven't settled on one yet.

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