I Don't Know what I'm DOING!!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by scared, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. scared

    scared New Member

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I worked as a Social Worker in my district and they are realllly short on teachers. I have been interested in teaching and They convinced me to sign up with an alternative certification program and within two weeks passed my TExES exam and was hired as a third grade teacher. I have NO experience as a teacher, not even student teaching. I need help. I'm sure I will learn a lot in my training but I would like to get the ball rolling as I only have 4 weeks. So, a few questions:

    1) How do you start from scratch not knowing anything about teaching and lesson plans? Do the schools provide a format with what you need to teach or do teachers have free reign over what they teach and when as long as it coincides with the TEKS?

    2) Tips on organization once I do get started.

    3) OMG what am I doing I'm insane!?!?! I know I can ask the school any of this but I kindof want to put on that I know more than I really do. I don't want them to regret their decision.
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jul 26, 2010

    One step at a time. Get used to the idea of being a teacher. Then start the planning. We can all help out with that part.
     
  4. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2010

    We will be here to help you through. First, look through your curriculum and your state standards. Firgure out what you need to teach first. Then think about your room arrangement and how you want your class to run day to day. Try and get as much organized as you can without overwhelming yourself. Make a list as the year goes on. Things that worked and things that need changed. If you have to change it right then, do it. But if it can wait, then wait. Focus on one thing at a time and you will be fine. MAKE LOTS OF LISTS! This helped me tremendously. Good Luck and have fun!
     
  5. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jul 26, 2010

    We will help you get through things as they come. As you come up with questions, post them, and you will get tons of different ideas and viewpoints.

    In return, under the Job Seekers board, please post any district vacancies... I know there are a lot of really great teachers on our forum without a classroom. Help them out!
     
  6. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I don't think you should put on that you know more than you really do. Ask tons of questions and don't assume anything! My school usually gets about 6 new teachers each year with no teaching experience just like you and they ask tons of questions. We are very willing to help them. In education they teach you to beg, borrow and steal and that's just what you will do with your colleagues (though I don't know how much I like the use of the word steal...). Anyway, I work in Texas and my district has a set curriculum based on the TEKS but it still allows for a lot of personal planning and creativity. It's more like a timeline of when things should be taught by and in what specific order. I've been in two other districts in Texas and they were both similar to the one I'm in now with how the curriculum functioned.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 26, 2010

    Most districts have a breakdown of scope and sequence for your curriculum-it all depends on your school the reign you have over that. A good question to ask (and it won't make you look like a novice) is if they subscribe to a certain math and reading program.

    Another thing I would do is contact the P and see if they can put you in contact with another teacher on your team-hopefully they can mentor you a little bit on the planning aspect.

    I think it's great you took this on. They won't regret their decision-and don't let anyone make you feel like less of a teacher for going this route. I was sitting in on some interviews recently with our admins and really the teachers who are leaders on our campus-the applicant was talking about competing with people with no experience who had gone through ACP. We all kind of looked at each other and I'm sure she felt a little uncomfortable because all but one of us in that room had started out with the ACP program. There's nothing like trial by fire! This forum is incredible for ideas and guidance-you'll get addicted, trust me! Good luck! :thumb:
     
  8. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I highly recommend you read the book by Harry Wong called "The first days of school." It contains practical advice for newbie teachers on all the basics.

    Also if you haven't been assigned a mentor teacher you need to seek one out in your grade level to become BFF's with. :hugs:
     
  9. teacherheath

    teacherheath Companion

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I also really really love the book The Cornerstone for Teachers by Angela Powell. I think it's really comprehensive as far as ideas for organizing, teaching routines, etc.
     
  10. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Wow! No experience whatsoever huh! Here's what I'd do if I were you...I don't know how fast you read, but 4 wks isn't that much time to read through a ton of books. But, go to your library or bookstore TOMORROW & get books that look good. Definitely get a book about classroom mgmt & how to handle behavioral problems.

    Look up websites. Google phrases such as:

    how to handle beh problems
    classroom mgmt
    writing lesson plans
    how to deal w/ your students' parents

    Befriend as many teachers as you can. Go to lunch together. See if they can kind of guide you, especially the other 3rd gr teachers at your school.

    I felt like this too when I was not only a brand new teacher, but the only special ed teacher on campus. I asked if they could set me up w/ a mentor teacher to help me out. The 3 people who helped me the most was my BTSA teacher, school pscyhologist, & mentor special ed teacher. The thing was, none of them actually worked on my campus so they were either at their own school or floated around, so I had to make plenty of phone calls to track them down w/ questions & set up days/times to meet w/ them to talk over things.

    Good luck & keep us posted on how your 1st week & after goes!

     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Can I ask what part of Texas you're from? Not specific, but general location?

    I am going to try to word this very carefully, because as we all know, typed words can come across as more harsh than in person. I am happy for you that you were able to land this job. I really am. Everyone deserves a shot at a job, and you will have the opportunity to prove yourself.

    But a part of me is offended by this. Maybe I'm the only one. But gosh darn it, I spent a lot of time training to become the best teacher I could be. I spent a lot of time in classrooms observing, taking notes, learning, growing, failing, getting better, and working with kids. I worked very hard to get the job that I have, and I know a lot of very well trained and eager teachers who haven't been as lucky as I to get that job.

    I'm not mad at you, scared, but the actions of this district really irritate me. Maybe they couldn't get any teachers. Maybe it's a rural district that is hard to get people to move to. Well...maybe they should have tried a little harder.

    Let's not forget, this isn't just a job. I'm a parent. Forgive me, I know this sounds harsh, but if I was a parent there, and sending my child to a classroom with a teacher who has absolutely NO experience whatsoever? Wow. And the thought that my child's teacher is starting a thread titled "I don't know what I'm doing!"??? Ahem. I certainly hope (and I don't think this would happen in another profession) the professionals I interact with on a daily basis...my doctors...my dentist...a lawyer should I need one...an ambulance driver...aren't wandering the internet admitting they are grossly underqualified for the job.

    I'm interested in the space program. I went to Space Camp for a week. But I don't foresee NASA calling me up for a shuttle mission anytime soon just cause they can't find any other astronauts.

    I know, I know, I sound like a total b!tch. I am really, truly, honestly, not trying to bash you OP. I, along with many many other teachers here, will be glad to help you, if not for you but for the kids involved. I just get my panties in a bunch when I hear of stories about my PROFESSION becoming more...unprofessional.

    :soapbox:
     
  13. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I highly recommend the book The Organized Teacher by Steve Stringer et al. It breaks down everything you need in terms of supplies, thinking out classroom procedures, room arrangement, etc. There's also a lot of reproducible pages that are really helpful.

    Good luck, and remember to BREATHE!
     
  14. miss_ali1984

    miss_ali1984 Companion

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    Jul 27, 2010

    1) How do you start from scratch not knowing anything about teaching and lesson plans? Do the schools provide a format with what you need to teach or do teachers have free reign over what they teach and when as long as it coincides with the TEKS?

    It's going to depend on your district somewhat. I can't believe that your district would not have some kind of new teacher camp. That's the first thing. Also, find a more experienced teacher to ask questions. Again, my district is providing me a mentor for my first year.
    Most districts also have an online curriculum providing the TEKS and objectives that must be taught each 6 weeks along with TAKS objectives, since you are in a TAKS grade. Do a Google search for 3rd grade lesson plans to see a few examples. That's what a lot of us did during our internships.
    -Ali
     
  15. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I 2nd First days of school by wong and would also suggest tools for teaching by fred jones. Last year was my first year...I asked tons of questions, don't act like you know something if you don't, my team was very supportive and I wouldn't have made it without them. Use all your resources...books, other teachers, web sites etc.
    Good luck and have a great first year.
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2010


    THANK YOU-that's exactly what I was thinking! Why did I spend 5 years and $40,000 on something that someone can learn in 2 weeks?!! My uncle lives in Milwaukee and he keeps getting calls for a "fast track" program because they need teachers so badly. I understand the shortage, but I feel a little irritated by these programs, because I worked by butt off for my degree and they make it seem like something so easy that anyone can do.

    Sorry for "hi-jacking" your thread. I'm not angry at the OP-I think it's great that you are switching professions to teach if it's a goal of yours. If it makes you feel any better, I think many people fresh out of college feel the same way as you. I felt like I knew what I was doing, but I was still terrified when I got my first job.

    I would recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/First-Weeks-S...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280236683&sr=8-1 . It's an easy read and it talks a lot about building classroom community. They also have daily schedules for the first 6 weeks of school with lesson plans. They might not be exactly what you want, but they are a great guideline for a new teacher.

    Also, do you have contact information for the other 3rd grade teachers? I would contact them and ask a few questions (or email) about the standards, benchmarks, and curriculum. They're going to be your biggest help this year when you have questions.

    If you have any other questions, just ask us! ;)
     
  17. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Jul 27, 2010

    The only advice I can give you right now is to never pretend you know something you don't know. I have been teaching for 19 years and I still ask questions all the time. It is important to model what being a leraner is all about when you're a teacher. As a teacher I never want a student to pretend they know something they don't know.

    I would suggest asking your administrator if there is someone who would make a good mentor for you (or else getting to know the other teachers and figuring out who is a good mentor).

    On the flip side, it will be great for the school to have someone with a social work background on staff. Don't forget that even if you're still learning about teaching, you have other talents to bring to the table.

    And for me personally, I found that actually teaching was the best way to learn how to do it. I found very little value in getting my degree other than the teaching experience. Of course I was also very young and just wanted to get through so didn't make it the learning experience it could have been.
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Since people are recommending books for you I would suggest "Teach Like a Champion" by Doug Lemov. I think it's really good resource for just starting out-step by step ideas for classroom management and engaging students.

    The debate about TFA and ACP interns comes up here every once in awhile. Be ready to field questions from parents like those of the other posters-but really everyone starts somewhere. You are seeking out help which I think is an awesome 1st step. I've been officially teaching for over 10 years and I could have the same title for a thread right now. Take advantage of the opportunity-for what it's worth my :2cents:, if you are a passionate teacher and will make a difference with kids-who cares how you started out.
     
  19. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Re: what kcjo13 said, I completely understand how she feels. I feel the same way too...working my a$$ off while many others get lucky.

    On the other hand, we ALL know that life isn't fair period...not just w/ jobs, but w/ anything & everything. It's unfair that some people are born in wealthy families & get everything they want w/o lifting a finger while others work their fingers to the bone working 3 jobs just to barely scrape by. That's unfair too.

    Or, trying to get a job for a long time, only to find out the job's been filled because the person has an uncle's sister's brother on the inside who got him in.

    Regarding the OP's situation, all I can say is things happen for a reason. The OP was given this chance, now if she flops (not that I'm hoping she does), but if so, the disttrict will just let her go & replace her, that's all. If she can actually handle it, it must have been a wonderful blessing from God that she's been granted this opportunity. :) Actually, the OP should be able to bring a different insight & knowledge to the table due to her backgound & experiences, so in actuality, the students who end up in her class may be very blessed to have a teacher like her.
     
  20. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    Jul 27, 2010

    You will probably be assigned a mentor at the beginning of the year. Do yourself a favor and copy their procedures. Copy their discipline, homework, classwork, grading style,---anything you can. This will help with some of the leg work so you won't have to start from scratch.

    Whatever you do......... be consistant with your kids. Follow the same routine every day if you can. Keep your consequences for behavior the same.

    Also...... I know tons of books have already been suggested but the best book for classroom management I can suggest is Fred Jones-- Tools for Teaching. Buy it, read it, follow it. It works!
     
  21. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Phone your principal and ask if they could provide you with a name of a couple of teachers that you will be working with.
     

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