Monday, June 29, 2015

Rock Your First Year of Teaching Linky

I am SO excited to take part in this linky hosted by Teaching With Crayons and Curls and My Mommy Reads

It seems like just yesterday that I was getting my first teaching job, but that was already three years ago! This will be my FOURTH year of teaching. I have taught kindergarten, first grade, and now I'll be venturing into preschool this year! And even though I'm not a first-year teacher anymore, and I feel much more comfortable in the classroom, it's almost like starting over again when you start a new grade for the first time. So I decided to participate in this linky, not only to give advice, but to receive advice as well! I also have a sister-in-law who will be a first-year teacher this year, so hopefully this advice helps her out as well!

1. Take time for yourself: In the midst of all of the planning and decorating for your new classroom, it is important to stop and take a breather. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, because nothing in the classroom matters if you're not doing well yourself. So make sure to exercise, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep. Also, take time to read a book (for fun!) or take part in a hobby that you enjoy.

2.  Plan extra: I remember planning for the first day of school, as well as subsequent days, and always trying to make sure that I had enough for the students to do. Especially those first few days/weeks, you want to make sure the students are busy. So, my solution is to over plan. Have a project ready or an extra book to read aloud to the students. Plan in some extra recess time, or other ice breakers for the students to get to know one another. I know in my preschool class this year, our first few days will be spent at various centers because it is something easy to plan for, but also gives me a way to see how the students interact with others, while still teaching them the procedures for using centers correctly. Plus, it's always easier to move a lesson or activity to the next day than to have 30 minutes with nothing to do.

3. Create a sub tub: My first two years of teaching I did not have a sub tub. I was also only absent when I knew in advance, so I had time to plan. However, this past year, I had to take a day off due to my husband going into the emergency room during the night. Needless to say, I didn't make it to school the next day nor did I have time to prepare anything in advance for a sub. So this is where a sub tub came in. I had made it during the first few weeks of school. I put in a book and a graphic organizer, some math worksheets, and a fun science activity. I also had my schedule and routines printed out, so the students and sub would know exactly what to do. I felt so much better knowing that I had that tub the day I was absent! It was worth the peace of mind.

1. Don't try to do everything your first year: Try not to stretch yourself too thin with too many activities right from the start. Also, don't feel like you need to have everything perfect in your classroom. It takes many teachers, myself included, time to find out how they like things and to stock up on supplies and decor for the classroom.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help: I remember when I first started teaching kindergarten and I had no idea how to start teaching phonics. There were so many opinions out there and I didn't know how the school wanted it to be done. So I went next door and asked for help. I was pointed in the right direction and I felt so much better. When in doubt about something, ask. Find a few teachers, make friends, and then ask them your questions!

Read professional development books: Before I started teaching, a book was recommended to me. It was The First Days of School by Harry Wong. This book had so many ideas for classroom management, running procedures, and finding success in the classroom. I then reread the book after my first year of teaching. I thought this book was very helpful. Not only that, but a few weeks into my first year, I was introduced to The Daily Five by a friend at my school. I bought the book, read it, and started the Daily Five within the week. I was so inspired by the books I read for my own professional development.

Now head back to Teaching with Crayons and Curls or My Mommy Reads to read the rest of the advice in the link-up!

Teaching with Crayons and CurlsMy Mommy Reads


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