The school year is about to start and new teachers are busy trying to make their classrooms perfect for their young scholars. I”m sure you’ve pinned one hundred classroom decor photos and might have even got your hands on the book Spaces and Places. You know enough about classroom setup. I want to give new educators some emotional and mental support. Here are the top five things new Teachers Should Know:
1.) Get yourself a mentor.
Some school districts assign new teachers a mentor for their first 2-3 years within the district. Just because you have a mentor assigned to you does not mean it will always be a good match for you. Find a seasoned teacher or maybe somebody on your grade level team that you can pull ideas from, give you constructive criticism, give you encouragement (trust me you’re going to need it) and keep your sane throughout the school year. Pick your mentors brain. That’s what they are there for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because you will not know all the answers. There is power in numbers its okay to have more than one knowledgeable person in your corner.
2.) Keep a journal.
This one may sound silly, but actually, the art of reflection is highly encouraged in the education field. Keeping a journal helps not only helps in the area of reflection but can help in the future when it comes to lesson planning. Things to journal about can include what went well during the lesson, what didn’t go well, how the students reacted to the lesson, how you felt about the lesson. This technique can help strengthen your effectiveness as an educator. Every lesson won’t be a slam dunk for you. Sometimes lessons you think are horrible students find interesting. Other times you and the kids will be in agreeance the lesson is trash. A bad lesson does not mean throw the lesson away and never go back to it. Figure out what you could’ve done differently and implement the change the next go round.
3.) Build as many relationships as you can with your student’s parents/guardians.
Communicating with parents/guardians is one of the keys to having as smooth of a year as possible. Make sure you establish that open line of communication in the beginning. If parents/guardians already have an open line of communication it is easier to have those difficult conversations. When you have open lines of communications parents/guardians are more likely to listen and implement your recommendations. Nobody just wants to hear negative things about their child. Positive communication with families helps bridge the gap. It’s okay to leave a voicemail introducing yourself or send a reminder email about happenings at the school. I utilize ClassDojo and the Remind app to keep parents in constant contact with daily/weekly happenings, both are free!
4.) Save Some Money
At this point, you’re probably looking at me sideways. New educators, I can not stress enough the importance of saving money. I understand you are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to salary steps and this is a reason to be very mindful of your school spending habits. Before you buy anything, see if another educator is willing to donate something. Check and see what resources are available at your school. Inquire about any outside sources that donate things within your district. For your first couple of years free is your way to go.
5.) Leave your work AT SCHOOL!
This is probably the hardest thing to do, no matter your level of expertise. It’s easy to say “I’m going to grade this stack of papers at home”, or “I’ll finish this lesson plan at home”. DO NOT DO IT! If you have a stack of papers to grade allot some time, plan time (if you get it), stay a little later after school( don’t extend past 45 minutes) to knock it out stack by stack. Try your best not to let it pile up, make this a weekly task. Taking work home on a constant basis will absolutely get you a one-way ticket to burnout land. Now sometimes taking work home, like report card comments, is inevitable. Please be wise about your time and do not constantly bring work home with you. You have to find that work life balance.
I hope this information will be helpful to some. Thanks for reading. Stay Selfish.