Last week, I wrote a blog about five things I wish I would have known before setting foot into my first classroom. This is a conversation I’d like to continue, but instead of doling out my own advice, I decided to reach out to all of the teachers who regularly post on Edmodo. Here was my question: If you could give a new teacher one piece of advice, something you wish you'd have known when you started, what would it be?
Below are their responses:
Be flexible, always have a Plan B, be able to immediately recognize when your lesson plan is failing, and be willing to toss it, then and there.
Establish a silent signal to get your students' attention. Yelling is not necessary in typical circumstances.
Bring a lot of laughter to your classroom lessons; it will make it easier for you and the students to learn and time will fly! I use YouTube videos in my class daily. They are a great resource for both educational videos and mental breaks.
Establish, build, and nurture relationships with students, teachers, staff, parents, everyone you can think of. Don't hesitate to give or ask for help—but remember, there is no one "magic" way of doing things. Figure out what kind of teacher you will be and work toward becoming that teacher.
Know that the perfect plans usually end up not so perfect...and that is ok! Capture the hearts of your kids and they will do amazing things for you.
Keep your focus and curriculum consistent; students will follow the rules if they are established and followed through to the end. Change is good, but setting the tone from the beginning goes a long way!
Mark one day every week to leave at the end of your contracted hours and take NOTHING home. It takes some pre-planning, but a weekday break sure makes things easier!
I have two. First of all, it is ok to say "I don't know" to a student's question and turn a search for the answer into a class activity. Second, be fair and consistent in your classroom policies.
Don't see your inexperience as a weakness, see it as a strength. You are coming in with new perspectives, new insight, fresh enthusiasm, and you’re full of energy—have confidence in yourself and never apologize for being a new teacher!
Be flexible and go backwards or forwards depending on where the students are at that moment.
Remember if it is not fun for you, it is not fun for the students.
Ask your students what's working for them and why. Adjust what's not working for them. Continue to shape and polish curriculum perennially and don't force what's not working.
Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)