Preparing for my first year -- advice please!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by lauraf, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. lauraf

    lauraf New Member

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    Jun 22, 2013

    Hello!

    I was hired and signed my first teaching contract back in March 2013. In August I'll start teaching 7-12 math and science. It's a super small school, so I am teaching 8 classes!! Each class has 2-6 students each. I am super overwhelmed and excited and nervous all at once!

    I would LOVE some tips from the pros. So, please leave your advice for a scared/excited first year teacher.

    Thank you!
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2013

    I just finished teaching at a small (although it sounds bigger than yours) 7-12 school. The biggest thing I had to learn was to switch my teaching styles between grade levels. The 7th graders need A LOT of structure. They need things broken down in to step by step instructions. For example, with high school, I can say "take out your book, paper and a pencil," and they do it. With my 7th graders, I tried giving instructions the same way and I had kids saying "Wait, what kind of paper? Can I use a pen? What if I only have a blue pen? Wait, we need a book? What kind of book?" You get the idea. So for them, I would have to say "Take out the red book." and wait until that task was done. Then say "take out a piece of writing paper." etc etc. It takes some time to get used to switching from different teaching modes.
     
  4. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jun 22, 2013

    Congratulations, and WoW what a challenge! My advice would be to read up on your curriculum and prepare as much as you can now. People (and potentially your college profs) will disagree with me, but if you have textbooks, don't be afraid to rely on them. This is a huge teaching load and you are not (to my knowledge) superhuman.
    Otherwise, get yourself organized. I have a folder system that uses a different color for each period. I have 2 green folders for pd. 8 - one is marked "to be graded" and the other is marked "graded." I NEVER move papers to the graded folder until they are graded AND recorded. As soon as I collect papers, I clip them (some people staple them as proof that they were handed in on time) and immediately transfer them to the correct folder.
    Good luck!
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2013

    Keep on the good side of the custodians and secretaries.

    Don't complain. About anything. or anyone.

    Cultivate a can do attitude.

    Know your content.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 22, 2013

    You might find some tips from homeschool forums. One of my former coworkers home schools her children. She has lots of great activities for small groups. Teaching small groups can be a challenge.
     
  7. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2013

    Don't make the mistake that small groups will be easier. It's easy to get sucked in to believing that the fewer students you have, the easier they are to manage. Manage them the same way you would a full classroom, or they'll be running all over you by the 2nd week of school.

    I agree about using the textbooks. I don't see anything wrong with using the textbook and supplementing it with your own materials, especially in math and science because they build. If your school doesn't have a scope and sequence, you'll really want to get to know the book.
     
  8. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2013

    CONGRATS!
    -Be yourself
    -Be consistent
    -Be careful with your words and actions!
    -Arm yourself with a POSITIVE ATTITUDE, and MAKE YOUR LESSONS FUN!
    Good luck!
    Rebel1
     
  9. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I had a similar first year, except I taught health and science, not math and science.

    In addition to what others have said, I would suggest:

    • develop a set of procedures for everything. Procedures are far more important than rules. I have my list if you to see some examples.
    • keep a dairy/journal/Word doc to record your ideas and what-to-do-next years. Or what-not-to-dos :p
    • set a time to leave everyday and do it! Don't spend all of your time at work
    • expect your attitude and energy to follow a similar trajectory: http://www.weac.org/professional_resources/new_teacher_resources/beg_handbook/phases.aspx
    • know your content inside and out.
    • over-plan. Avoid down time like the proverbial plague.
     
  10. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I am excited for you! Your (anyone's) first year will likely be exhausting, but the inefficiencies resolve and each subsequent year is easier, and more enjoyable, than the one before.

    For me, after thirty-some years, teaching is now the most natural, even relaxing, thing in the world. I enjoy it so much that I can't quite bring myself to retire, though I am an old b---d of 66!

    You have so much to look forward to. Enjoy!
     
  11. lauraf

    lauraf New Member

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I would love to see some procedures and get ideas if you don't mind sharing!

    Thanks!
     

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