I'm linking up again with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week's Teacher Talk Tuesday.
Although I am still a newer teacher, I have plenty of suggestions for new teachers. While I don't feel entirely qualified to give advice, these are things that someone told me that helped and things I wish I knew when I started.
1. Stay positive. Remove yourself from the drama, the gossip, and the negative talk. When I first started teaching, someone told me to stay out of the teacher's lounge and I couldn't understand why. After two years, I finally started eating lunch elsewhere. The gossip and complaining became too much to bear and it makes for a toxic environment.
2. Find a mentor. Find someone that teaches something similar who has lots of experience. This person should be able to guide you without criticizing you. You should also not be afraid to ask questions to them or anyone else for that matter. There is so much to learn and acting like you know it all or have it all together won't do you any favors.
3. Get organized. Figure out what it is that you need to be teaching and make sure that you can cover the lessons and line them up with the standards, within the time allotted. It is so easy to miss something and to run out of time, story of our lives. Don't be afraid to stop and reteach if your kiddos aren't getting it, either. When you make the plans, you can change them, just keep the goal in mind. It's also important to keep your materials organized, whether it's your desk, supplies, or student manipulatives. It will save you plenty of time later.
4. Manage your time. My first year teaching, I was after school most night until at least 6pm and I spent a full weekend working from home each week. I was fully invested in my job and I hadn't found what worked best for me yet. While we will never be able to get away from all of the extra work that won't fit into the day, it is important to find ways to work smarter. Don't forget about the other relationships in your life, the ones that will be there after the kids go home and when the school year ends.
5. Hold high expectations and stick to them. The kids should be held accountable and the bar should be set high for them. Don't lower the expectation or change your mind about something without having a plan. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
6. Take time for you. The teacher burnout rate is so incredibly high for new teachers that it is scary. The last thing I read was that 50% of teachers leave within the first three years. While teaching may be your life's passion and where your heart is, you need to take time for yourself outside of the classroom. When it starts taking over your life and isn't fun anymore, there is a problem.
7. Give love, praise, and guidance. These kiddos look up to you and rely on you in ways we will never know. No matter how young or old the students, you play a major role in their upbringing and they will remember how you made them feel. I love each of my kiddos with my whole heart, even if I don't like their behavior or actions. They learn from example and they don't know what they don't know. I find that when I love them and praise them, they learn how to do the right thing and how to tell the difference.
8. Enjoy what you do. Is there a better job than ours?!?! My most favorite thing about my job is the kids. They make me laugh, cry, and help me to see life as it is.. real and raw. There is no better way I can think of to spend my time than surrounded by these guys.
The best part about still being a newish teacher is knowing that I will continue to improve in all of these areas until I retire. I am SO loving reading all of your entries! Teacher Week is taking over my life and I'm loving it!