1) Plan, plan and over plan. Dead empty time at the end of the class period is what causes a ton of classroom management problems.
2) As hard as it sounds (and this one takes a while- it took me about three years) leave your emotional baggage at the door, both in the classroom and out. Keep home issues at home and school issues at school.
3) YOU ARE ALLOWED TO SAY NO! You're not going to get into trouble, no one will think less of you. DON'T JOIN EVER AFTER SCHOOL committee (one or two will make you look good and professional but not any more)
4)BEG, BORROW AND STEAL lesson plans.
5)Take time everyday for yourself. Check your e-mail, read a book, listen to music, before or after school.
6) Remember your loved ones? Hold on to them don't let the job consume you-- These kids will only have you for 180 days, your family was there before and will be there after the kids walk away.
7) Congrats, is this your first real paying job? time to spend a little money. Plan a little vacation (GO SOMEWHERE ANYWHERE!) over spring break. Or if that's out of your budget (you have sick days and personal days-- use them!)
There is no joy quite like waking up late and knowing you get to sleep in while EVERYONE else is at work. It will do WONDERS for your mood.
Most important advice:
You are NOT the only teacher these kids will have, don't worry about screwing them up. Someone along the way will help them out if you missed something or didn't teach it the right way.
Also the school year has a moods.
September- you will be thrilled but scared.
October- you will know all your students
November- You' will start to get tired and you will be ready for thanksgiving
December- You've started to find your groove. You're not a superstar but you're a little bit more comfortable, you know where everything is in the school and the staff will start to warm up to you a little more
January- March----- HELL. It's awful. Morale is down. You won't see any progress, the kids might even start to revent a little bit. It's the weather (if you live somewhere where winter is a factor) You might also start to think you might want to quit. Just hang in there.
Apirl- June--- You will start to fall in love with your job and the kids again. You will remember WHY you teach and most importantly, you survived the school year. YAY YOU!
This is a VERY normal cycle--- don't feel bad about it. You didn't do ANYTHING wrong. I promise.
And most importantly LAUGH EVERY DAY! If the kids don't make you laugh and smile at least once a day, teaching isn't for you. Good news: kids are VERY funny.
Good luck. You'll be fine.
If you don't have it already get the book
The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher
by Henry Wong.
It's worth EVERY penny.
As a fifth year teacher I look back at my first couple of years and know that the most important thing I did was to have a life OUTSIDE of school. Take one day out of the week (maybe Saturday) and don't do anything for school. Make time for yourself and things you enjoy and be sure to have some fun because the long hours new teachers spend at school and preparing can really bring them down.
Another thing is to make sure that the new teachers have a support system of veteran teachers who are willing to help them, spend time answering their questions, etc. If there are other new teachers at the district it's a good idea to form a group where they can get to know one another, bounce ideas off each other, etc.
Set limits for yourself and recognize that you cannot do everything. You will not be "Suzy Perfect Teacher" your first year...and that's ok. Like the person before said, be sure to take a day off. But also make sure you're not staying late at school everyday. Stick to the basics this year. Next year you can spend time adding all the "extras."
Go home at a reasonable hour.
Take as little home as necessary (strive to take nothing home).
Forgive yourself daily, for not having everything done.
Not every lesson will be spectacular. Don't knock yourself out.
Have a life outside of school. Don't think about it when you're off the clock.
Don't take anything personally. Adolescent tantrums will happen.
Master the art of being unflappable.
Take mental health days when you need them.
A glass of wine after a long, craptastic day helps.
I am a first grade teacher, and it is my first year as well. I really like some of the advice you've already gotten on here. I have only been through one week of school and I love it, but I am so stressed, overwhelmed, and busy. So I know how you feel. I make sure to stay at school no later than 5:30 or 6pm in the evening, listen to my favorite music on the way home, and spend some quality time with my new husband!
I have decided to always have my lesson plans ready by Wednesday the preceeding week at the latest and to always have a stash of extra work and activities put aside for those kids who seem to always finish way too fast.
I don't knwo what grade you teach, but with First, centers have been a big source of stress. Trying to figure out what to do, how to plan them and my intervention time, and most of all trying to create the materials. Just remember that you are not expected to have it all (or know it all for that matter) your first year. I am trying to make myself believe that. Take as much time off on the weekends as possible. I make one center activity each weekend (all summer long and still doing it). Then I feel like I accomplished something but still got a break.
I'm sure you have already done this, but make friends with the veteran teachers at your school. Their advice and support is priceless. I made friends with our campus reading specialist and now she is doing all of my DRA testing for me! It's also nice to have someone to lean on when you need emotional support from someone who understands.
GOOD LUCK! And remember, you are not alone!
Dear, stress is everywhere even if you are not a teacher. the most basic thing i can share is in my 8 years in teaching preschool and special learners in the Philippines, i have not experienced any major burn-out. Why? because i love my work as a teacher. Treat each day as if you are the learner. Try to challenge yourself with exploring possibilities, making changes, or trying out new activities which will extend your student's and your interests. Learning can also happen outside the classroom, so think of places you could visit with your students to further enrich their learning. When developing a new lesson or theme, think of the essentials- how these that you are presenting will be valuable or applicable in real life. And the, take short breaks too by visiting other places, meeting new people or just stay home and relax.
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