Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Advice to New (and not so new) Teachers...

1 - Have a Great Website

When I first started teaching, I was at a rural district and there was no school policy on updating your website. Many of the teachers I worked with were old school and didn't even have one. I created one, but it was mediocre. I'm quite positive that no one ever actually used it, as it took the computer services guy (yes, it was 1 person) forever to actually link it to the school's page. Now that I'm at a bigger district, we are required to have at least a homework website. GO BEYOND THAT!

A website is a great way to introduce yourself to your students & your parents. I post homework, extra practice resources, as well as copies of any and all handouts. I also have a link to my classroom Twitter & Instagram accounts that keep parents involved in our daily classroom lives. It doesn't have to be fancy - trust me, my personal blog is far cuter - it just needs to be effective! It may take a little bit of time to develop up front, but parents love it. Administrators love it. Do it.

2 - Make Yourself Visible

You need to get out in the hallways & make yourself visible. I know it's easy to get tied down to your desk - answering emails, creating lesson plans, stalking Pinterest because your brain is mush... But if there is one thing that my administrators notice (and complain about) is the visibility of teachers in the hallway. It's a quick & easy way to make a good impression, as well as develop relationships with students. I have learned a lot in the three minutes between classes!

with one of my favorite students on Valentine's Day

Visibility isn't just for the hallways though... show up & support your students. Try to make it to a few sporting events each season, the school musical, or honor society induction. There are always parents and administrators at these events & they love to see teachers out supporting kids. More importantly, the kids will notice that you're there! Every time I'm at an event, I have at 10 kids make a comment about it the next day. They love seeing me out there supporting them!

3 - Be Positive

pinned here

The current state of education isn't exactly happy-go-lucky. I avoid the teacher's lounge because it's a rather negative place and I try to keep a positive attitude. Do things annoy me? Yes. Do I wish that I got paid more? Yes. But everyone that I work with is facing the same issues. I'd rather get some work done & be the change in our school than cultivate a culture of hostility. Your students & administrators will thank you... no one likes a grump!

4 - Steal Things

Do not kill yourself your first year of teaching! You don't have to recreate the wheel for every lesson! This is the 21st Century - we have the internet! That means you have all sorts of opportunities to steal things! Make sure to stalk Pinterest's education boards & check out all of the freebies you can find on Teachers Pay Teachers. There is a lot of amazing stuff that is already out there!

That said, the internet isn't your only resources - talk to your colleagues! I was so afraid to ask for help my first year because I thought they'd take it as a sign of weakness. Turns out, they took it as "she thinks she knows everything." Not the case... Make sure you take the time to converse with colleagues, ask for help, & co-plan whenever possible.

5 - Communicate


Parents used to scare me. I was always afraid that I was going to get chewed up one side & down the other. For what? I'm not really sure. I've never actually had this happen to me, nor have I ever given a parent reason to do so. Nevertheless, I was timid and communicated with parents as rarely as possible as a result. HUGE MISTAKE! Parents can be your biggest ally. They will rally around you & sing your praises. They may not always like what you have to tell them, but they appreciate (gentle) honesty. 

Best Wishes for an Amazing Year! 

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