You got your first job (and soon your first full-time paycheck). You have the keys to your room suddenly a million things have been added to your TO DO List. Catch your breath and use these tips you keep you sane this year.
Don’t be a super teacher.
Feeling like it all has to be perfect your first year will destroy you. Focus on your lessons but remember things don’t always go as planned. That still happens to me twenty years latter. Learn from mistakes and move on.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Yes there is a lot to take in your first year but that makes it even more essential to get to know others on your staff. Often other teachers are more than willing to help out any way they can. Eat lunch in the staff room; say hi to folks in the hall; linger a little at bus duty or pick-up areas. You don’t have to become BFF’s with anyone but it is important to invest some time to meet others.
The biggest mistake is making assumptions about your colleagues. I have seen others fall prey to this and have done it myself. By letting a first impression, or worse yet, what another staff members tells you taint your opinion of a colleague, denies you an opportunity to meet amazing people.
My first year I thought a particular teacher didn’t like me because of how she came across only to found out she was one of the nicest and most generous people I know. So go out there and meet the people you will be working with.
Decorate your classroom but don’t stage it for a magazine cover.
Yes you want to make a good impression on your principal, parents, and students, but don’t let it consume you. Make your entrance welcoming, design a few good bulletin boards and then take a break. You will have all year and a long career to perfect your room.
Create an environment that makes YOU happy.
Often getting consumed by how your classroom looks, teachers forget to create a nice workspace for themselves. Yes you are here for the kids, but you are also spending seven plus hours a day in that classroom. Make sure your workspace is a pleasant place to be. It doesn’t half to be “Pinterestfied”. A few simple photos of people or places you love, an inspiring quote to keep you going, a decorative bulletin board may be all you need to enhance your environment.
Balance your work life with your personal life.
I completely understand the desire to have a great first year. You have worked hard to get to this place and want to have a job to come back to next fall. And yes, new teachers will need to put in more time to learn the ropes but, please, carve out an existence away from campus. As tempting as it may be do not spend all weekend in your classroom or going home when it is dark. It is just as important to have time with family and friends. Keep at least one or two of your interest alive. Give yourself down time to relax and reenergize for the week ahead.
Your first year teaching is an exciting one. Use these tips to help you survive and ultimately thrive from this experience. Enjoy!
By The Uncluttered Teacher
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