Teacher Talk Tuesday Top 10
Blog Hopping continues this wonderful teacher week with Teacher Talk Tuesday – Tips for New teachers. I have been teaching for 6 years, but still feel like a new teacher a lot of the time. However, here is my top 10 list of advice I would give a 1st year teacher.
1.) Keep it simple! It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the demands put onto teachers, don’t make your life too complicated. I used to have 5 different centers that required me to create 5 different activities every week and I would be at school until 7 or 8pm every Friday trying to get it all done. Keep it simple – find a format that works and re-use that format over and over so that you don’t have to re-create it all the time. (This builds consistency too – see #2.)
2.) Stay consistent! Most kids thrive on routine and consistency. ie. They do better knowing that every day at 8:30 they will sit down and do a read aloud and then they will complete a story map on said story, than having random exciting activities all day long. This should also make your job slightly easier, as you can keep a format and build on it.
3.) Be flexible! Yes, you want to stay consistent and have a routine, but realize you work in a school where YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL of everything. Principals and parents are going to disrupt your routine with assemblies, conferences, fire drills etc. These things are out of your control, there is no need to stress over them, just go with it.
4.) Know when to say No! Set limits with parents and with your peers. People in schools are needy and if they find out you have something they need, watch out. Help others, and talk to parents, but put them in their place and when possible say No to disruptions in your day – your kids will thrive on consistency (see #2).
5.) Collaborate! Although you don’t want your teammate running in your room in the middle of your lesson, make sure you share ideas outside of teaching time. While you are sharing what you are doing in your room, find out what they are doing in theirs – and find out what items you guys could share.
6.) Use Technology to Help you Collaborate! Many schools have a shared network – create folders and share with your team mates. If you don’t have a shared network – use a site like www.dropbox.com or use www.googledocs.com to share work easily.
7.) Use Parent Volunteers Wisely! Parent volunteers can be a blessing and a curse. Make sure that you have something prepared before your volunteer arrives, but never put something for the volunteer to do that you can’t live without because things come up and sometimes volunteers don’t show up.
8.) Get to Know your Kids! You will be a better teacher to a kid you can completely understand, so really get to know your kids. Eat lunch with them once in awhile, ask them about their family, ask them what they had for dinner last night, ask them what tv shows they watch (take a half hour and watch one of their shows), this knowledge will be powerful when planning your lessons and assessing learning growth.
9.) Set Limits for your Kids, and Tell Them What the Limits Are! It’s not just about setting rules, although this is important. Spend the first month making sure that kids know their limits and guidelines for EVERY activity you want them to participate in, from centers to recess to circle time to going to the bathroom. They won’t know your expectations if you don’t tell them. Don’t assume they will know how to behave, you are working with 20 – 30 kids from different families, each that will have different expectations. Be very clear about how you want them to behave.
10.) Laugh with your Kids. Although my kids know that work is most important, it is also important to smile and joke with your kids and let them know you are human and approachable. You may be the only person they have to talk to some day, and you want them to be able to approach you. Plus, laughter lightens the mood and makes you (and them) feel better!
I hope these tips help new and experienced teachers alike. I can’t wait to see what the other teachers post at Blog Hopping.