Welcome back! By now you have been somewhat prepared to embark on your exciting new journey as a brand new teacher. You have found your “tribe”, you are dressed to impress, brushed up on the lingo, overly prepared, and have found your “person.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for surviving your first couple days as a teacher.
6. Lunch – Teachers be Prepared
School lunches are not very exciting or appetizing. Some days are better than others, like when they are serving the Thanksgiving special with turkey, gravy, and stuffing, which is actually really good. Other items like chicken nuggets and of course the baked potatoes are pretty good options as well, however, I would suggest bringing your lunch. Prepare your lunch and snacks the night before school starts. That way when you wake up completely exhausted from the day before you only have to grab and go. Where you eat your lunch is also very important. Some choose to eat their lunch in their classroom, some choose to eat off campus (time Management is key when your lunch time is only 30 min) and some choose to eat in the teachers’ lounge. Now the teachers’ lounge is a place that some dare to not enter. It is a place where many teachers go and vent about certain students, certain teachers, or even the administration. Some stick to only talking about positive things but you always have a few that almost every time you sit down to eat with them it’s nothing but negativity that you’re eating for lunch. I suggest as a new teacher using your time wisely. If that means eating and working in your classroom through your lunch than go for it, but also don’t forget that you need other adult interaction. Invite a co-worker to come eat in your room or vice versa. Lunch goes by so quick sometimes you can only do your best to use the restroom, grab your lunch from the teachers’ lounge refrigerator and hustle back to your classroom with only enough time to scarf down your food and throw your trash away before the bell rings. Whatever the case may be you have 30 min to yourself…ENJOY IT!
7. Before/After school
Try to arrive at school early. That means if teachers are to report to school at 8:00 arrive at school at 7:30. Time to prepare before class is very important. It allows you to go over your lesson for the day, make copies if you forgot (most of the time this was Me.) or just get caught up on administration stuff. After the bell rings at the end of the day, some days all you want to do is sprint out the door with no remorse for how messy your classroom is or how high the stack of ungraded papers is on your desk. Stay for at least 15-30 min after to get organized for the next day. Believe me time during your conference period is not enough time to get everything done that you need to.
8. Lesson planning/admin stuff
In college you are taught how to write a lesson plan. When you’re an official teacher this is helpful but 90% of the time it will not go as planned. Be flexible! Make sure to ask how to upload your lesson plans and where. Most likely your administrator will have you upload them so your appraiser (an administrator or principal assigned to evaluate you.) can see them and make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Lesson plans are a great tool, but where do you get the resources for the lessons? That is something you have more freedom with than you think. As long as what you are using meets the objectives you are trying to accomplish and the TEKS are included, you are more than welcome to bring in your own resources. Scope and sequence (tells you the order in which topics are to be covered) and your teacher book are also great tools. Make sure to ask for them. New teachers sometimes get forgotten about and people just assume they know these things. Things you do not learn in college are things like how to upload grades to the grade book, where do you put the citizenship grade, and how to take attendance. Some schools will assign you a mentor to help with these things. Just know they are not always the biggest help. Take initiative and do not be afraid to ask someone to show you. If I have learned anything as a teacher, it is not to wait on people.
9. Don’t smile until Christmas
Students can be intimidating and if you do not establish boundaries, classroom expectations, rules and consequences and stick to them from the first day of school, you will quickly lose your students to behavior issues. Stick to your guns. Some have given the advice not to smile in your classroom until Christmas, really show those students whose boss. You can have fun, smile, and accomplish a lot, but not without classroom management (separate blog post on classroom management coming soon). Have fun, make memories, but boy oh boy don’t ever let the students think you don’t know what you’re doing! Fake it until you make it!
Teaching is a joy, a career not chosen by the weak. Every day you enter into a room of mini sharks waiting to devour you for lunch. You can do it! Remember there is always someone counting on you, and you may just be the one person who changes their world!