Friday, July 17, 2015

Favorite 5 Friday: Tips for New Teachers

I decided to bring my Favorite 5 Friday posts back from my college days! 
It is hard to believe, but school will be starting in just one month. Recently I have seen many new teachers asking for advice as they prepare to start their first year. So, today's favorite 5 focuses on my favorite tips for new teachers. 

I decided on my tips after reflecting back on my first year of teaching. It was the most challenging learning experience ever! Also, most teachers have been giving the advice to focus on procedures. That is very important, but I left it off of my list because it already highly discussed.

1. Take care of your body. 
I think I was at my school working everyday for a month after I was hired. I felt like I constantly had something to work on in the classroom, lessons to plan, copies to make, etc. This led to me gaining weight, not sleeping well, and having some anxiety and stomach issues. I had to make a change.
I quit going to the school or bringing school work home every day. I worked on bringing healthier food and drinks for lunch. I started taking exercise classes and got back into running. This is me and my teacher BFF after we completed a Waterfront Challenge 5K.
All of these changes made a huge difference in the second half of my year and ultimately made me a better teacher for my students.

2.Follow inspiring educators on social media (and in your school).
This past year I found so many inspiring and helpful educators through Facebook, blogs, Instagram, Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, etc. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Find teachers on these sights that work in the same grade as you and adapt their ideas to your classroom. Also, don't forget to seek out the teachers within your own building. I have the privilege of working in the same school with my own kindergarten teacher and I am always going to her for advice! Other teachers are your best resources!

3. Share what you are learning with parents.
I found that parents have many misconceptions about what goes on in kindergarten, but they want to be informed. I let my parents know what is going on in our class through a Facebook page. I invite all of them to like it during our open house at the beginning of the year. The parents also fill out an info sheet giving permission for me to post their child's photo on the page. All of my parents consented! And they loved it! I even had some grandparents that ended up liking the page as well.
I posted a lot of pictures and the parents would comment cheering their child on. I also posted reminders about things going on at school. The parents said that they loved getting on and seeing pictures of their children smiling at school. Consider making a classroom Facebook or Instagram page to share what your students are doing! 

4. Ask for help and use feedback.
One of the first things you have to overcome as a new teacher is the fear of people observing and evaluating you. Most schools have systems of evaluation that include your principal, curriculum coach, and peers. Instead of viewing these observations as if you are on trial, view them and use them as a learning experience. Even better, meet with your observer beforehand and let them know some areas you would like assistance or improvement in. 
Use the feedback that they give you as a positive way to improve your teaching and ultimately increase success for your students.

5.Make intentional goals for yourself.
You can not improve on everything in one year. Pick a few priority areas and set intentional goals for yourself before the school year starts. Keep these goals in mind as you are looking for resources, planning lessons, and interacting with students. Also, keep them in a place where you can easily refer to them to keep  you focused. I shared my own goals for this coming year in a previous post.  

These are just a few of the things that stuck with me from this past year. Remember, being in the classroom is your best professional development! Feel free to share any advice you have in the comments below.

Happy Friday Teachers!!!

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