As you begin your first year:

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Aliceacc, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2011

    There are some things your teacher prep program has neglected to mention:

    - Fire drills. They're IMPORTANT. But they also have a way of messing up your day. If you're in early elementary, don't be surprised if someone (my daughter Kira for example) has a total heart attack. She's terrified of loud noises, and fire drills are a real issue for her. In secondary, I can almost promise that a fire drill will coincide with your first test. When it does, tell the kids not to sweat it, just continue working at a normal pace; you'll grade accordingly.

    - Expect to get sick. Your immune system is in for a huge shock. It's about to get the workout of your life. You will have more colds this first year than any other of your life. So tonight, hit CVS or Target and get the medicines of your choice, and stock up. You'll be glad you did at midnight some night when it starts to hit.

    - Be careful not to let school consume your life. Yes, it's important. But there are few "teaching emergencies." Don't neglect your family or friends. My first year, I graded every Friday afternoon till about 6, had dinner, took a nap, then went out with friends.

    - A blazer lends instant authority. But however you dress, make sure it sends the message you want to send.

    - A sure way to disconnect with a kid is to not know his name. This is a huge struggle for me every year. This year, with 9 classes I can expect to teach over 300 kids a week, aside from my study hall or cafeteria duty. But I've got to learn all their names, and know how to prounounce them all correctly. It's non-negotiable.

    - A sure way to become a facebook joke is to be constantly unsure of your content. You need to be solid in your material.

    - No kid in the history of teaching has ever bought the line "I was just checking to see whether you were paying attention." If you make a mistake, be honest about it, fix it, and move on.
     
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  3. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Great advice Alice!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Alice...you are an online mentor in many ways! Your threads lately for job seekers and new teachers are spot on and good reminders for even us seasoned vets!:cool:
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Thanks guys. I think it's either God or my subconscious telling me it's almost time to start teaching again.

    Oh, and more:
    - There is no excuse for not finishing the syllabus. You have 180 days to get it taught. Lack of planning on your part doesn't justify teaching 4 chapters in 3 days in June.

    -You were hired as a professional, not an intern. In this job market, you beat out a lot of other dedicated professionals for that job. Support is wonderful and useful. But make sure you're doing your job-- don't rely on a mentor or other support system to do your planning or any other aspect of your job for you.
     
  6. MrBiology

    MrBiology Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Great advice. I'd like to echo the part about learning the students' names. It sounds easy but make a strong effort to do so. I had an almost-disaster in my high school student teaching when I had almost gotten to the end of my internship and realized I barely knew any of my students' names.
     
  7. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Chime.

    In history, failing to reach the "end" is extremely common. I agree that there's no excuse. None. Planning is your friend, and it will help you achieve your goals.
     
  8. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Excellent advice Alice!
     
  9. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Aug 15, 2011

    About fire drills. . .

    The second day of school, I have a practice fire drill in every class so they know exactly what I expect as far as their behavior and they know where to go. Our school always has a fire drill the first week. We have them weekly for the first month and then once a month after that. If they get to practice, it may help the little ones.

    Alice - wonderful job with all the advice!
     
  10. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Instead of getting sick, get a big pack of zinc lozenges. The second everyone around you starts coughing on you, take a few! The second you feel that awful scratchy throat tickle start, take a few!

    It almost always heads off a cold if you start soon enough.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Great idea! And don't forget the orange juice and the neti pot (however weird and/or icky it might be, it works!).
     
  12. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Aug 16, 2011

    Wow, Alice, amazing!!!
     
  13. GAteacher87

    GAteacher87 Companion

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    Aug 16, 2011

    I love this list, Alice! Thanks for compiling it. :)
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I swear by the neti pot. It gets everything washed out of your sinus cavities. Next to vigilant hand washing, it's the second thing that will save your health when surrounded by the motherload of germs.
     
  15. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2011

    I have heard that first year teachers get sick all of the time too, but I'm hoping someone can maybe explain how this is different than when we were in the class all the time during student teaching (or for example, when I was an asst. last year)?? I haven't heard this rumor about student teaching and, in fact, was never really sick that semester. (Thankfully)
     
  16. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    It could be stress related + being around so many ill children all the time?
     
  17. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2011

    Thanks for the great advice... Funny thing is most of it has already come in handy and we have only been in school for three days!
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 18, 2011

    That's exactly what I always said! People went on and on about how we'd get sick the first year...and I'm like how is this different from when I ran a classroom full of children all last year and never got sick (and like you said, I'd never heard that about student teaching)? I don't really get why people say that. I was sick once the entire year last year (my first), and it was food poisoning. I keep clorox wipes in my room and I wiped down my tables at the end of most days. If I saw a kid with a runny nose, I'd tell them to get a tissue. If a kid that looked sniffly/sick came for a lesson with me, I made sure to grab some hand sanitizer when they left.
     
  19. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2011

    I was not sick last year, but in previous years I have had recurring colds that led to laryngitis. How's that for a fun time?

    I think it really depends on the year. I do my best to protect myself (like Waterfall), and hope things will go alright.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2011

    It could be that student teaching is usually only a couple of months, whereas the first year is, well, a whole year. You can go through lots of pockets/seasons/outbreaks of illness in a year. I also think that the stress of being a first-year teacher is a lot greater than the stress of being a student teacher or even an assistant. Lots of first-year teachers don't take care of themselves with all the staying late, going in early, not eating right, not getting enough sleep. It all adds up and leads to greater susceptibility to illness, I think.
     
  21. Danielle721

    Danielle721 Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2011

    TY Alice! The planning/grading thing is definitly an issue for me. I had 2 maternity leaves last yr- a 1st geade and a second grade. I had no life from October to April. Very hard time gettinbg everything done. Burt will try!
     
  22. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Aug 30, 2011

    Alice GREAT Advice....
    - I would say make sure you drink water to help stay healthy.

    - Use the bathroom when you need to & don't put it off because it keeps getting pushed back!!!

    -Go over fire drill & lock down drills, so the children know what to expect.

    Alice love the advice on if you don't know it don't fake it!!! I would always say you know I'm not sure I will check on that tonight and give you an answer in the morning.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 30, 2011

    I'll refine the advice about faking it: Know the fundamentals of the field well enough that you know when you can successfully fake it - there ARE times - and when you can't, and make a point of not confusing the two.
     
  24. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Aug 31, 2011

    Here's another tip:

    It's okay if every single lesson is not the most creative, earth-shattering activity known to mankind. As an elementary teacher, I picked a different subject or two each week to really focus on in my planning (not that the others weren't well-planned, they were just more basic). Don't wear yourself out trying to reinvent the wheel!
     
  25. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I taught kinder for 3 years and for the majority of them, this is the first time they experienced a fire drill (or other types of drills). So, my first year, I made the mistake of not fully preparing them and boy were their many tears and upset kiddos. From then on, I always made it a point to explain exactly what will happen and we even practiced it on our own. I also told them about the loud ringing noise and that it is loud, but not to be scared.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 31, 2011

    I bet pbs.com has the Arthur episode where his younger sister is terrified of fire drills. If not, I'm sure you can find the paperback.
     

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