Happy New Year!
The lovely Lauren, from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep, is hosting a fabulous linky all about tips for teachers new to the profession. Good, practical, real life tips are SO important as a new teacher, because sometimes it seems like everyone has got every base covered.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t. I’m still learning, too!
It’s very important to talk about these things, as well. So, support your fellow teachers, link up, and impart some knowledge – let’s learn together!
1. Top Tip for Classroom Organisation
Oh, man, I’m not the BEST person to talk to on this. What I can say is persist. I’m a piler – things get put down and do you think I can find them when I need to? Not a chance. Last year I started my ‘To File’ box – which is actually 5 boxes (Prep Literacy, Prep Maths, Gr 1 Literacy, Gr 1 Maths, Other). While that may seem excessive, it’s actually helped me with my filing, because it means if I don’t have time to go through my folders, I’ve still sorted them for the time when I can sit down and do it all in one hit. My advice would be, find what works for you. If you can file at the end of every day, all credit to you, but if you only get to it once a week/fortnight, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just keep it contained and neat and under control.
2. Top Tip for Behaviour Management
Be consistent. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through, because the kiddos will keep testing you. Find out if your school has a particular behaviour management program (at my school we have a 7 Step process that is the same in every classroom – which gives great consistency across the school) use it. Otherwise, stick to praising the kids doing the right thing – too often they’re looked over because of the kids who cause trouble, but if you acknowledge their good work, it’s amazing how quickly everyone else falls into line.
3. Top Tip for Being a Team Player
There is nothing more important than your school team – they’re the people who UNDERSTAND everything that you’re going through, and they are often the first people to offer you support and guidance. Don’t forget to listen and join in and offer your ideas. It doesn’t matter if your ideas aren’t picked up yet – they will be eventually – but demonstrating a willingness to share with your team is a great step in demonstrating how much you’re willing to work with them.
4. Top Tip for Time Management
Again, this is something I still struggle with. I use timetables and timers to help me get better at this, and I work hard at it. That’s the best advice I can give. Don’t give up! (It does get easier!)
5. Top Tip for Engaging Students
Don’t be afraid to be a bit silly. On a daily basis I do crazy dances, crazy voices, sing songs, wear silly hats, tell jokes and don’t take myself too seriously. This is so important with little kids, because if they see you take those risks, they’re willing to join in and have a go themselves. Building a classroom culture of mutual respect, care and fun will keep your kids engaged.
6. Top Tip for Getting Along With Parents
Without going into detail, last year I had some trouble with this one. That said, I also had plenty of really great experiences, and that’s been the same every year. It’s part and parcel with teaching. Just be positive, patient and respectful. Parents will come to you with all manner of queries and concerns and the best thing is to listen, get to know them, and keep communication lines open with then. Document any conversations that make you feel uncomfortable or that you’re unsure about. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
7. Top Tip for Teacher Fashion
First, check your school’s dress code. Second, invest in a REALLY COMFY pair of shoes. Wear clothes that are comfy and practical and that are appropriate for what you’re doing. I teach Prep/Grade 1, so I don’t wear anything that’s not going to withstand some paint, glue or boogers (and yes, that’s gross, but so true!). But, I can’t stress the comfy shoes – make sure they have some support or you’re going to regret it, trust me!
8. Top Tip for Bargain Hunting
Before you go buying anything, put feelers out in the school community – chances are, someone might have exactly what you need.
9. Top Tip for Eating Well at School
Keep a stash of non-perishable snacks in a drawer in your classroom or office. It’s very easy as teachers to get caught up in what’s happening on a day-to-day basis and run out of time to eat and then just skip a meal. Even if it’s a muesli bar on the run, it’s better than not eating. You’ll get cranky, trust me. There are plenty of healthy options that will last for a few weeks that will get you through. (And the occasional chocolate is good for your mental well-being, too! :P)
10. Top Tip for Staying Sane
Have an outlet that is your go-to shut-down teacher mode. I am very guilty of being consumed by my work, and at the moment that’s ok, because I’m keeping it in balance and I’m enjoying myself very much. But it’s easy to slip into an all-consuming framework because being a teacher never seems to end. Well, people, it shouldn’t be like that! Make time for the things that you enjoy doing that are NOT related to work and DO THEM. For me, I do a lot of collaborative writing with friends across the world, I watch movies and I drink a lot of tea. Those are my therapy. 😉