Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted! Advice for First Year Teachers

This is my first Linky Party! Yay!

Today I am linking up with Latoya Reed from Flying into First for her:

This year, I am honored to have been asked to mentor/advise a few of our new teachers.  My mentor teacher filled me with all kinds of fabulous knowledge.  I hope I can provide the same level of support!

BUY a laminator!  It doesn't need to be expensive.  I've worked in 3 schools and even when we've started the year with a laminator, it usually wasn't working by November.  This is a great investment.  I purchased the Scotch laminator from Target. It was $25 and the pouches were $15. Year before last, I was the only one on campus with a laminator... it was one busy machine!

ALWAYS be kind.  This seems obvious, but it has many layers. (This is a long one...)

First, be kind to your kids.  No matter how much Ghandi-like zen you have, there will come a time when a kid (or whole class) gets on your very last scrap of a nerve.  It's sometimes hard to do, but it's important to remember that each child in your room is somebody's baby.  I like the phrase, "be kind, yet firm."

Second, be kind to your parents.  Be open and communicative!  During the school year, you spend more time with their little one than they do.  If they ask you how their pride and joy is doing, try to dig up an anecdote to share.  They'll really appreciate it!

Third, be kind to your fellow staff members - this especially includes the office/custodial staff! Most likely, your administrative assistant and custodian run your school.  Don't ever demand things from them, ask nicely (chocolate or coffee helps too!).

Lastly, and most important... be kind to yourself! Give yourself a break. Not every lesson is going to be perfect, your room is not always going to be clean, your kids are not always going to follow directions, your Principal will walk in during complete chaos, and IT'S OKAY. Remember that every day is a new day (and your Principal likes chocolate too!).

NEVER, ever, gossip to parents!  It will always come back to you.  Even if you really, really, really trust a parent, keep top secret details to yourself.  Remember, parents have all kinds of opportunities to talk to each other; baseball games, dance recitals, playdates... facebook.

FIND plenty of resources for your content.  (And make sure you know your content) As a parent, nothing is worse to hear from my child than, "Mr. Smith had to stop math today because he got confused." Do research, buy books, USE PINTEREST!  Learn about your content before you have to teach it.  If you aren't prepared, it's better to push the lesson a bit, than teach it incorrectly.
I once taught an entire class how a wind turbine worked... incorrectly. Even though I went back and corrected myself and we did an activity with the correct info, HALF of my kids got it wrong on the assessment, writing my original description. DOH!

 MAKE sure to ask for help!  When you start feeling overwhelmed, even a little, ask for help!  When you don't know what an acronym means, ask for help.  When you have a situation in your class that baffles you, ask for help! No one expects you to do everything on your own. = )

BE happy and flexible!  No one likes a complainer. If things aren't working out the way you'd like, find out how to change them (or just deal with it). Be flexible!  Remember, there will come a time when you'll need someone to take your recess duty too... 

That's it!  There are some of these that I still need to remember.  It's easier to hear them now, then have to learn them the hard way.


  1. Great advice! I definitely keep a wall up between myself and parents- you've got to remember no matter how friendly they may be, some of them have known each other since their kids were born which is a long time- it's impossible to work out their relationships so better to stay well out I say!

    LOVE your kindness one- agree 100%! I've just found your blog through the linky and started following along. I love the design- so simple but cool!!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes and Mayhem

    1. Yay! My first follower!!! Congrats! Lol