For Newbies: "Why didn't anyone tell me that..."

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Aliceacc, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    ... there would be a fire drill 2 weeks into the school year, the day of my first test, and that I would have to find a way to deal with it??
    (My solution, since I can't just extend my 2nd period class: I tell them not to worry about finishing, just do what they can and not worry about time. Then I pro-rate what they've done. If a kid has only completed 80% of the test, and gotten 60 of those points, he has 60/80 or a 75%.)

    ... I should stock up on office supplies when they go on sale? Walmart, Target, and Staples all run huge summer sales on school supplies. Stock up on everything from pencils and red pens to binders to hold your own notes. (This is aside from anything you buy for your classes-- I don't buy ANYTHING for my high schools students-- it's all for my own kids and Peter and me.)

    -- even high school kids LOVE stickers on tests when they do well. Stock up when you find them over the summer, and give them to any grade of 90 or better.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    ...you should develop a relationship with the custodians and secretary...they can be lifesavers!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    ... kids change who they are and how they act, depending on who they're with. Some GREAT kids can be just awful, if they're in the same room with a particular group. Likewise, some kids give one teacher a hard time, but are great for another. Moral: Ignore what the grapevine has to say about any of your kids. Make your own relationship with each kid, and make up your own mind about each one.

    ... it's a very good idea to have a sweater in your room, for those days when you're coming down sick or when it's colder out than you thought.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    ...the kids that are the hardest to reach are the ones who need you the most

    ...you need to ask questions

    ...you should record all special events--assemblies, meetings, etc--on a calendar so that you can refer back to it next year
     
  6. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    I didn't learn this the hard way but a few teachers I know did: don't implement any behavior plans without consulting the principal and guidance counselor!
     
  7. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2012

    Keep a broom and dust pan in your room, if one isn't supplied. You will need it for oddest things.
    Keep a change of clothes in your room or in your car, especially if you work with young children and it is flu season.
    Don't assume that everything the children tell you is true. They come up with some really good creative stories!
     
  8. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Your admin might require you to write plans a week in advance, but that doesn't mean they won't throw a wrench in them by throwing in an assembly, drill, or meeting at the last minute.

    I agree with keeping a change of clothes at school even as a high school teacher. You never know when you will have a wardrobe malfunction. I have spilled an entire cup of coffee on myself, ripped clothes, busted zippers, etc. and teaching isn't exactly a job where you can just run home and change.

    Keep the tissues on the other side of the room from your desk and keep your own box in your desk. The last thing you want is to have all the kids blowing their germs around your desk.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    ...just when you think you've got things figured out, either your administration, district, or state will change up the laws and you'll have to learn it all over again.

    ...it's ok if things are changed up on you because it keeps you fresh and coming up with new ideas.

    ...it's ok to NOT reinvent the wheel with every lesson.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    ... it's okay if everything doesn't go perfectly

    ... you will be expected to teach as well as the teacher down the hall with 30 years of experience. She/He will most likely be happy to help you out, so ASK!

    ... you have to know what to do in the event of any emergency.

    ... don't let one student take over the entire class. If you give everything to 1, there is nothing left for the other 25.

    ... stand up for yourself and the well being of your students. Admin can lost sight of reality, so you must be the advocate for your room.

    ... Mr. Clean Magic Erasers really are magic. They will do everything except tell you who actually coloured on your shelf.
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jul 5, 2012

    along with keeping kleenex on the other side of the room, make sure there is a garbage can there. Keep your own kleenex sepereate from the kids', along with a garbage can.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    On the lighter side things, I love this idea found on Pinterest: Create a special two inch binder to contain all the sweet pictures you'll get from students (I got at least a dozen a week and that's in middle school). This way your wall isn't cluttered but the students still feel you value their gifts. The idea is that the binder would be kept on your desk or shelf for everyone to see.
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Document everything. Keep a notebook for each year that you can refer back to when parents contact you.
    Don't assume, that because a parent wants to see you that they are angry. They really may just be concerned about their child.
    Be prepared for a lesson to bomb or take much less time than you thought.
    Be prepared to have one of "those" days when you and the kids are all out of sorts. It's ok to take some time to throw your hands in the air, have everyone grab a book, and spend some alone time reading.
    Keep packages of crackers on hand for those kids who come to school hungry each morning because there's no food at home.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Make sure you have Plan B for getting to school if your Plan A roadway is blocked. Always leave yourself enough wiggle room so you can still get to school on time if something unexpected crops up on your way.
     
  15. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 5, 2012

    We have a fire drill on the 1st day of school every year! ;)

    I even started to keep a spare car key taped to the inside of my file cabinet. The worst is when you are ready to go one day and realize you locked your keys in the car or can't find them for whatever reason.

    Be careful with how you take criticism. Admins typically like it if you at least appear like you will implement their suggestions. You don't want to be labeled as uncooperative out of the gate.

    Don't be afraid to contribute. I love when new teachers chime in and share their ideas or come up with a cool activity.

    Justme-I love the scrapbook idea! I need to start doing that myself. :thumb:
     
  16. Sunflower883

    Sunflower883 Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2012

    .. I was going to get bombarded with constant last-minute requests that are due in 5 minutes and many times these requests would interrupt my lessons.

    ...administrators don't feel responsible for providing training for new changes in teaching that I'm expected to implement immediately and that it's my responsibility to be up to date with the latest teaching trends.

    ...the most difficult students will need a lot of my time and patience and will rarely, if ever, thank me for making me work so much harder but those students who rarely need extra help from me will be the ones who will thank me the most.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 5, 2012

    It's okay to make last minute changes to plans, lessons, etc., especially if you see things are not working out.

    Have a system already set-up for incoming/outgoing papers before day 1 of school. Otherwise, you will be so bombarded with paper that you won't know what to do. I suggest: An in-box for students to place finished work, a student/group box for unfinished work (or, just send it out for hw, but have a designated place for hw papers that are outgoing), and folders with the day of the week for papers that you have ready, but don't need until later in the week. This will prevent a mountain from forming on your desk.

    Bring water, and snacks (nuts, fruit, etc.) to pop in your mouth anytime you get a chance. Lunch time does not mean you might actually really get to eat (if it's like my lunch time where I eat with my kids, therefore I am really having to keep watch and only get a few bites in).
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 5, 2012

    Oh, and this should be common sense, but, respond to your parents. I have had several times this past year when my DD's teachers never responded to my emails. It's simply not professional, and it gives off the impression that you don't care. I leave my email up and open all day long and respond quickly to my parents.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My school has been pretty good about keeping the teachers in the loop when there is going to be a fire drill or earthquake drill (Bay Area) or something. I had an assembly and a fire drill on the first day I started at my internship last year. xD

    ...pick certain days to get certain things done. i.e. Monday and Tuesday are grading days. Wednesday is parent contact and conference days. Thursday is a planning day for next week, and on Friday, relax.

    ...getting 7-8 hours of sleep everyday should be your top priority. Plan for this.
     
  20. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Jul 5, 2012

    ... Have a place for important papers/memos/etc. You might be amazed how many things get put in your box daily. Those can pile up if your not organized

    ... Dry erase markers get permanent markers stains off of white boards and desks

    ... Practice every routine that you have, don't expect that they know how you want something done. Every teacher is different and you might do things very differently than the teacher they had last year.

    ... You don't have to grade every assignment that they do (the students don't have to know this ;) ). Somethings are just practice.
     
  21. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Make sure you keep an emergency bag filled with tylenol, bottle of water, feminine hygiene products, tide pen, gas-x, contact solution, floss, etc. You never know when an emergency might creep up on you (or another staff member).
     
  22. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Keep a pair of comfortable shoes under your desk.

    Make your copies the day (or days) before you expect to need them. That way when the copy machine isn't working you don't have to revamp your lesson plans because you don't have the papers you need.

    Laugh with your students.

    Listen to suggestions with an open mind and filter them through what works for you and your particular group of students.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    ... sometimes life gets in the way and it's okay to throw your plans out the window and celebrate or mourn together
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    ...and take some time to enjoy your job!
     
  25. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jul 5, 2012

    ...if your classroom management plan isn't working ask yourself if you have really taught your procedures and expectations and if you have been consistent with your plan. Give your classroom management plan a real chance before trying to find the next magic bullet.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    ...kids who do not respect you are very unlikely to learn much from you. And that respect must be earned, not demanded, not bought.

    ... There is no excuse for not knowing your content. And it's the quickest route to losing the respect in the previous point.

    ... What works for me, or someone else here, or Harry Wong, may or not work for you. There is no one-size-fits-all method that will guarantee success in a classroom.
     
  27. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 5, 2012

    ... give every student a fresh start every day. If you tangled with one student the day before, don't hold a grudge even if she does.

    ... don't bring drama into your classroom. If you had an argument with your spouse, or butted heads with a colleague, maintain a positive attitude/mood in front of your students.

    ... ENJOY your students.

    ... remember that parents send you the best kids they have.

    ... do NOT get caught up with the negative-nellies on the staff. If colleagues ALWAYS gripe and complain about the school, admin, etc do not participate in the discussion.

    ... remember that admins make the best decision for the school, not for YOUR classroom.
     
  28. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    -Get to school at least ten minutes early. So many things pop up (administrator wants to meet with you, guidance counselor has a concern about one of your students, etc) that you don't plan for. If you're pressed for time, you'll feel stressed out and won't be able to give the matter your full attention.

    -For new SPED teachers....I didn't fully understand how involved I would be in my student's academic experience. If a parent has a problem with a science teacher, they will ask YOU to talk to the science teacher. If a parent is concerned about the child being bullied, they will call YOU to express their worries and not the guidance counselor. You're their "go-to" person, and you have to be able to play different roles and coordinate the necessary services for each unique need.

    -Stay organized! Not being able to find your materials slows down a lesson (and leaves the door wide open for behavioral problems). In meetings, it can also make you look unprofessional if you don't have all that you need.

    -Again, for SPED teachers....running your first IEP meeting can be really intimidating. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I actually had another SPED teacher that I was close with come to my first meeting (which was in September!) and help me along. She was a pro, so she was able to ask the questions that I forgot to ask and keep me on track with all of the signatures and requirements.
     
  29. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    ...Make sure the teacher's edition you use when lesson planning matches the student books, or you'll have to think on your feet the very first lesson you teach! (Covers can be deceiving...)

    ...There is always something to be done. Prioritize your work and set limits on your time.
     
  30. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    ...be prepared, but flexible

    ...there is more than one right way to do a lot of things

    ...ask for help

    ...find out what seems really important to your administration (bulletin boards of student work, paperwork in not just on time but early, etc), and take care of these things

    ...remember that tomorrow is a fresh start for you and the kids
     
  31. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    ...most of what you learned in your teaching program is not what you will need to know about the actual job.

    ...expect the unexpected

    ...if you want something to get done, just do it.
     
  32. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2012

    Administration knows it's humanly impossible to do everything they sometimes ask you to do. Decide what matters most and what is most important for your kids, and do that first. Worry about the other stuff later (but obviously not too much later).

    No one cares if you're a first year teacher. Yes, most will be willing to offer advice and a sympathetic ear, but you're still expected to do things that someone with your little experience should ever be expected to do!

    And...on the flip side of that...

    Sometimes you have to (and should) remind people you're new! It's easy in the crazy school day for veterans of the profession and of the school to assume you know exactly what they're talking about. You'll look dumber if you don't ask questions.
     
  33. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    This can't be said enough! Ask! Ask! Ask!!! In the long run it is far better to ask than to fake it and make a royal mess of something. ASK!!!
     
  34. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Haha, I've gotten some tips from this thread! I never thought about keeping the kid's tissues away from my desk. When I had so few kids at a time, I used to watch for sniffly ones and lysol when they left the room...I never got sick, but when you have them with you all day you can't exactly follow them around with lysol!

    I think a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but it works for me. I personally do not enjoy doing work twice or finding out later that I never needed to do that particular task in the first place, so I don't plan too far in advance. This is the one thing I wish someone would have told me before I started- just chill out and wait to see what needs to be done or what the requirements of the school are!

    My first year I thought I was being "responsible/prepared" by trying to get all of this work done before school/way in advance. Much of the stuff I spent hours doing, I never even needed to do. Many schools provide scope and sequences for curriculum- I'd hate to spend two months of your summer making these only to find out you have to follow district guidelines anyway. Many places also have specific lesson plan formats you must follow, or specific things to include in your lesson plans. Even if they don't, you might find out your team plans certain things together. There are also always those assemblies, special days, etc. where the plans you wrote a month ago are totally out the window- not to mention some things take longer or less time than you expected, meaning your plans will probably already be off after the first week. In my student teaching sped position, I found that things were so focused on the gen ed curriculum that I never really got to work on the IEP goals. I thought I was being smart by planning ahead for this roadblock when I first started teaching sped- I spent hours making these little charts of the students' goals where I planned to write down at the end of the week what activities we'd done to work on the goal and the progress I noticed. It turned out my new school's sped program was run completely differently- the focus was really only on IEP goals and not as much gen ed curriculum at all, so I never once needed to use the charts I spent hours making. I'd also spent quite a bit of time making my own graphs/plans for progress monitoring, only to find out that the district had a program where you printed everything off for the tests, and then you just plugged your data in and it graphed it for you.

    There are so many variables- I just don't think it's wise to do all of that work ahead not really knowing what the school or admin is like- you're just going to have to do it over again or find out it was a waste of time. I won't make that mistake twice!
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 5, 2012

    • Document, document, document - everything - even trivial things can come back to "bite" you
    • When an admin asks you to do something, repeat it back to them "I understand you to say..." and/or email a confirmation note to them stating the request, due date, etc. This is not only professional, it can save your bacon!
    • Get lots of sleep!
    • Exercise and eat right - most new teachers put on weight due to schedules & stress.
    • Take some time for you! Work isn't your life, so don't let it drown you!
    • Enjoy your kids - they can be marvelous!
     
  36. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2012

    So true!!:D
     
  37. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    ...you might be new, but the team you are joining more than likely is not. Learn their norms and be prepared that you might need to spend more time sitting and chatting than you'd like just so that you get to know them and earn their respect. The 'bs' time with them might reap you a great recommendation or their willingness to help you out because they actually KNOW you.
     
  38. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 6, 2012

    Drink lots of OJ or take Vitamin C religiously. My first year of teaching I stayed sick half the time.
    Handle your mistakes with grace. Don't bluster your way through them.
    Don't be afraid to play at recess with the kids. Shoot a few hoops, swing on the swing, have fun with them. :)
    Bring some of your favorite books from the age that you are teaching and read those to your kids (even older kids like being read to.)
     
  39. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Keep a jar of mints (I like the individually wrapped Life-Savers) or a couple of pieces of chocolate tucked away--you'll need them someday!
     
  40. englady8

    englady8 Rookie

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    ...even though grades might be entered online, a hard copy should also be kept
     
  41. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 6, 2012

    So true! The hard copy has been a lifesaver more than once!

    Tissues and garbage can for me - like that idea. And I second the packet of gas-x, tylenol, etc. I even keep an extra pair of stockings/knee highs.

    Teachers are great sharers - just ask!

    Know that you are going to cry from frustration, stress, etc. at least once the first year - maybe more than once and maybe each year.
     

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