1. Meet your coworkers/make a friend- Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to your co-workers, express your excitement for the upcoming year and greet them with a smile. Find a grade level team member or another staff whom you think you could get along with and go out of your way you visit their room and introduce yourself. Think of a question or two you could ask their advice on to break the ice.
2. Make friends with support staff – This one is HUGE your best friends while you are a teacher should be the secretaries, custodians, and cafeteria workers. They work HARD in your school and they are your connection to anything and everything you may need throughout the course of the year!
3. Have student supplies ready- It never fails. There will be students who show up with no pencils, pens, journals, etc. Have plenty of extra on hand so you can show them that you are willing to meet their basic needs. Don’t get frustrated at them for not bringing them. Their parents are the responsible parties and you never know their financial situation.
4. Have teacher supplies – You will certainly need to have your supplies ready. Stapler, tape, white out, sharpies, pens, pencils, hot glue gun, etc. This would be a good ice breaker for a co-worker. Ask if you can look around their room for anything you may have forgotten!
5. Know where EVERYTHING is in your room- From paperwork to textbooks. Know where EVERYTHING in your room is at all times! Get drawers and organizers and label, label, label.
6. Set the tone for your year / first impression- Don’t walk with your head down in the hallways. Make eye contact, smile, and give a hello to your co-workers and support staff. Your first impression will go a long way in building relationships in the future.
7. Know your way around the school- You will more than likely get a tour of the school. However, you need to be sure that you walk the school several times. Make a mental note (or even written notes) of the location of important places this can be restrooms, the gymnasium, all of the exits, the library, computer lab, etc.
8. Look over student and staff handbook- Be sure that you are familiar with your school policies. You need to know the dress code, all student technology expectations, all discipline policies, etc. You will want to be well versed in these.
9. Post your name and room number- Label the inside and outside of your classroom with your name and room number. This will help parents during open house, co-workers in learning your name, and students when they arrive.
10. A journal- Keep a notebook or a journal in your desk. Mine is labeled “WOW” notebook. When a student says something hilarious I will jot it down along with the name and date and look back over the course of the year. You can also keep a reflective journal. If you spend just a few minutes at the end of the day to write one positive and one aspect to work on you will be amazed at how more aware you will be of your teaching practices!
11. A calendar- You will NEED a calendar. Keep this with you can use different colored ink for different aspects of your life. I use red for school events, green ink for family events, and blue ink for any appointments scheduled. Find whatever works for you and stick with it!
12. Be OVER comfortable with your lesson plans- I cannot stress this one enough. Before the first day begins you should read over your lessons again, and again, and again. You should also plan more than what is needed. The last thing you want is to run out of materials because your adrenaline made you teach at a faster pace.
13. Get your seating in order- Your students will want to enter a classroom that is already set up and conducive to learning. Make sure your student seating is set up in a manner to accomplish your plans. You will more than likely change it several times over the course of the year and that’s okay!
14. Something to carry your papers and supplies in- You will need an over the shoulder bag or some teachers even use a rolling cart. Between the papers and books you will be taking home and your supplies you will certainly need something to transport it in.
15. Don’t expect a perfect day- You will learn quickly as a teacher that lessons and days rarely go exactly as scripted. There may be vomit, blood, urine, and Lord knows what else show itself on the first day. There may also be behavior issues on the first day. This will probably be the toughest job you have ever had but it will also be the most rewarding!
16. Be ready to adapt- Remember the urine and vomit I mentioned? You will need to be prepared to adapt and change as you begin your teaching career. Be willing to stop mid-lesson and change things around if needed. Be willing to give up your planning (because you will) in order to attend meetings. In other words, you will live in a constant state of reflection and adaptation as a teacher. Just remember, to keep this focused on what is best for your students at all times.
Change certainly isn't easy. However, in order to move forward change is sometimes required! But what if you wanted to be the one to help make change happen? In the video:"Three Myths of Behavior Change - What You Think You Know That You Don't: Jeni Cross at TEDxCSU" myths about making change happen are discussed. If you are looking to make change happen you should check this out!
Relationships are the cornerstone of a successful classroom. Too often teachers go through the motions in an attempt to have their students perform on a state mandated test. This leads to burnout, stress, and behavior problems we claim are out of our control. What if I told you they aren’t out of your control? You can do something about the climate of the classroom, and whether or not you want to admit it, it starts and ends with you. This goes for new teachers and veteran teachers alike. So how can you work to build relationships with your students in an attempt to create a positive classroom climate?
Feel free to comment with your ideas or suggestions!
Here are some tips:
1. Laugh with your students
Don’t be afraid to tell a joke or make a funny comment. Even the cheesiest joke may bring a smile to their faces! And if they laugh AT you for telling a joke, then at least you got them to laugh, but be able to laugh at yourself as well! This will go a long way.
2. It’s okay to be wrong
No one is perfect. There have been times in my classroom where I have worked a problem too quickly and a student has corrected me. My response is usually the same, “Thanks so much, see guys even the teacher can work too quickly and make mistakes! It goes to show that we all need to take our time and check our work.” Turn it into a teachable moment! Or, you can do like some teachers and use the “Ahhhh, I was seeing if you were paying attention” move. This also applies if you’re wrong when you get onto a student and find out it actually wasn’t their fault. Try apologizing; some students will have a look of disbelief when they hear their teacher apologize.
3. Don’t yell
This is a pet peeve of mine. Too many students are yelled at enough at home. The last thing a student needs is screaming coming from an adult who should be their biggest advocate. This only escalates things and will not foster a good relationship.
4. Learn something about them
This will go a very long way in building relationships. Take the time to listen to them talk amongst their classmates. Give them an interest survey at the onset of the year. Use a quote from their favorite movie, the name of their favorite athlete, or an example of a problem using their favorite food. You will see them perk up at them mention of something they like!
5. Have their back
I realize this can be a tricky one. You want to maintain a good working relationship with colleagues while trying to foster relationships in your classroom. However, your students MUST know that you are an advocate for them. They must know that regardless of what they say or do, you believe in them and have their back. Always remember: When a student acts up, make sure they know that it isn’t them you’re disapproving of, it’s the behavior. THEY MUST KNOW YOU BELIEVE IN THEM!
6. Help meet their basic needs
It’s human nature to want to feel safe and taken care of. If your students show up to school hungry, improperly clothed, or exhausted because they were kept up all night by mom and step-dad fighting then you must be understanding. These kids are expected to live through the Hell many of them do and show up ready to perform. Take care of them, help them, listen to them, ask if there is anything you can do, but most importantly, show that you care about them as a person.
7. Encourage them to take risks
What if you tried something new in your classroom and it didn’t go so well? Would you want your principal to come in and berate you in front of your students? I didn’t think so. So why would you flunk them if they showed effort and actually tried on a test and failed it? What does this teach them? Instead, congratulate them on their effort and build on that success (even if it’s minimal). You should have seen the look on my students’ faces the first time I congratulated one of them for scoring a 35% on a test. I told them, “Awesome, you mastered 35% of the information! I can’t wait until we go over what you missed and you score even higher next time!” This has translated into an anticipation of testing rather than a fear of testing. Remember: Students are not the score they receive; they are real people with real fears, joys, and needs.
8. Make positive phone calls
How many times have you called a home only to get voicemail? Once they see the school calling, most parents think, “No thanks; I don’t have time for this today.” Try making at least one positive phone call a day. Check the parent you called off your list until you have called them all and then do it again! In fact, when you call for any negative behaviors in the future your call will more than likely be answered!
9. Give them a compliment
This is one of my favorites! Try starting the week off with your student roster. Place a check next to a student’s name after you have said something nice about them. This can be anything from, “Wow, nice handwriting” to, “I like that jacket!” Trust me; it will go a long way!
10. Show them respect
You may be the only person they see throughout the day that will treat them with respect. If you expect them to say “please” and “thank you” then you should say it to them. The same goes with “yes sir” and “yes ma’am”. Feel free to call them “ladies and gentlemen”. An atmosphere of mutual respect can be developed, but remember that YOU’RE the adult and the one who should be setting the example.
Webster's defines a teacher as: a person or thing that teaches something; especially : a person whose job is to teach students about certain subjects.
A person or a THING?! We teach students about certain subjects? Oh my Webster you are wrong on so many levels.
We don't just teach students about certain subjects. We teach students about respect, confidence, kindness, hard work, effort, responsibility, love, dignity, conflict resolution, and too many more "subjects" to list.
If my job was to simply teach about subjects it would be pretty simple. However my job entails much more. Here is my definition of a teacher: An individual charged with the responsibility to advocate for, counsel, nurture, inspire, entertain, motivate, educate, cultivate, encourage, and believe in every student they encounter.
Society views teachers as those who transfer information. However, teachers see themselves as those
If you have ever felt the PANIC of not being able to find something then this list is for you! A quick guide to what you need to organize as an educator! If you have anything to add such as strategies for specific tips please feel free to comment!
1. Organize student supplies
2. Organize teacher supplies
3. Implement a "Binder System" this is explained in detail in our professional conversation with Laura Watkins
4. Organize your paperwork (ALL OF IT)
5. Organize your dates/events
6. Make a daily/weekly to do list
7. Create email folders
8. Make a schedule (daily)
9. Keep student papers/grades up to date and recorded
10. Find something that works and stick with it!
Time management has always been my nemesis! It seems like there is always something to do! Hopefully these quick tips will help you out! If you have anything to add please leave your feedback in the comments section or contact us!
1. Invest in a planner/calendar
2. Learn to say no if you're overwhelmed (don't commit to too many things and get spread thin).
3. Make a daily to do list.
4. Do not multi-task.
5. Actually use your planner/calendar!
6. Spend 15 minutes every morning mapping out your day.
7. You don't have to grade everything.
8. Show up early, not on time.
9. Make your family aware of time demands and include them as often as possible.
10. Find what works and stick with it!