Teacher Tips

This page isn't going to be anything fascinating, just some advice I can offer based on my personal experience. Take it or leave it, but hopefully it helps.

  1. When parents want to help, let them help! My first year of teaching, I was too nervous to freely allow parents to come in my classroom. It seems silly now, because if I had let them come in and help, I would have felt substantially less stress.  Parents are not there to be your enemy! They want to see their child -- and their child's teacher -- succeed! They just want to be involved and make things easier for you and more exciting for their child.  
  2. Admit fault, or when you don't know what you're doing! I remember one time the kindergarten team had a meeting with our principal.  In the meeting, we discovered that every. single. one of us. had been administering a portion of a test incorrectly. We had all been trained incorrectly! Even though it was a common mistake, I was the only one who openly said "I have to admit, I've been doing this wrong from day one. I am glad I know how to do it now!"  I know that some people would shy away from admitting wrongdoing, but I think my principal really appreciated my openness and honesty.  It showed that I wanted to be doing the right thing and was appreciative of help!
  3. Be open to change. We've had a lot of changes in our school this year.  Some have been for the best, others have been a bust.  But regardless of whether the changes implemented actually improve the school and student learning, you can't discover what works and what doesn't without trying the strategies!  You have to be willing to stray from your comfort zone in order to find what the absolute best teaching strategies are for your students.
  4. Don't let your frustration show. Kids pick up on stuff. They pick up on feelings really easily, better than most adults!  If you are frustrated, or angry, or stressed, they will know.  Make sure you have calming strategies in place for really frustrating days.  Maybe you have a piece of chocolate stashed in your desk.  Or you silently say the Serenity Prayer to yourself.  Or you have everyone in the room, students included, take a brain break with some jumping jacks!  Just remember that no one has unlimited patience, so you should have a plan in place when you start to feel overwhelmed.  The students don't deserve to get a worse version of you because you're not feeling your best.
  5. Be silly. Don't forget to keep in touch with your own inner child.  It's okay to play with them on the playground! It's okay to be their friend.  I remember my mom always said to me growing up, "I'm not your friend, I'm your mom." True, true.  But I always felt she was both.  You can be an authority figure and still be someone the child wants to be around and share things with.  You can still get respect (perhaps even more so) when you have a good rapport with each student.
  6. Never forget why you got into teaching.  Surely you had to write a philosophy of teaching at some point.  Dig it out of your college binder or find it in that folder labeled "Old Stuff" on your computer.  Re-read it. PRINT IT OUT! Hang it up!  Remember the passion you initially had, and never lose it.

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