June 28, 2015

New Teacher Advice

I'm linking up today with the lovely Chandra, from Teaching with Crayons and Curls,  to share some helpful advice for those new teachers who will be entering the classroom for the first time this new school year. 

I just finished up my 20th year of teaching!  20 YEARS!!! It is unbelievable how fast that time has flown by.  During those years, I have grown as a teacher and learned so much about myself and the students that I have taught.  While I have learned through my own mistakes and mishaps, I have also learned through the wisdom and knowledge of those teachers much more experienced than me.  As an educator, I am not afraid to admit that in the least!  It has all been a part of the growth I have experienced as an educator. 
1.  Find a mentor within your grade level!  Find somebody that you can plan with, talk with, cry with, ask questions of, etc..  If you can't connect with another teacher in your grade level, look within your building for SOMEONE that you can look to for support.  During my first few years, I was lucky to have experienced teachers within my grade level that I could seek out for support.  I couldn't even imagine getting through each day without somebody to talk with or vent to.  Even now, I still have a group of teachers that I turn to daily.  They are my support system and I couldn't do it without them!
2.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  There is no such thing as a dumb question.  If there is something on your mind, ask it!  That's why you need that support system.  Don't be afraid to ask your admin either.  Establish a rapport with them.  Ignorance is not always bliss.  You don't want to find yourself in a bad situation simply because you didn't ask about something.  I have 20 years under my belt and I still ask questions daily.  I would rather be safe than sorry in the long run!
3.  Get to know your students and their families! Take an interest, get to know your parents.  Show them you are interested in establishing a positive rapport with them.  As a first year teacher, you will more than likely be judged by just that.  Be confident, consistent, and respectful.  No matter what.  You are not going to always like what a parent says or does.  They in turn may not always like what you say or do.  But showing them you are willing to work with them will help in alleviating any potential problems that could arise.  Being a first year teacher is hard enough.  When you have problems with parents, that only makes things worse.  Remember though, if you have issues with parents, seek out help from your support system.  If you have parents that are threatening or bullying you, seek help from administration asap!   
1. Ignore that you have a life outside of teaching!  Teaching can be all consuming.  It can suck the days, nights, months,  and weekends out of you.  You will have enough on your plate as it is.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself and your needs.  Leave your bookbag in the car, don't bring things on home every weekend.  You will burn out by November if you don't take care of yourself.  Remember your support system from above.  Look to them for advice on how to manage your time before, during, and after school.

2.  Try to keep up with Mrs. Jones down the hall!  You are you and Mrs. Jones is somebody different than you.  Mrs. Jones may be absolutely fabulous, well respected, and the best of the best.  You may want to be like her, act like her, teach like her, create fabulous materials like her.  That's all fine and dandy.  But you have to remember  what works for Mrs. Jones may not work for you.  It's great to look to others for advice and lesson ideas.  But the minute you try to start running your classroom the way another teacher runs hers, is the minute you rob yourself of establishing your own identity.  You will be miserable and will burn out very quickly.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Write that quote down somewhere you can see it each and every day.  Let that be a reminder to you that you are yourself and your joy is going to come from what YOU implement and establish in YOUR classroom.  I've been doing this for 20 years now and I STILL struggle with this. Especially now that social media is right in our faces daily.  It's hard, sooooo hard.  But you will not be happy trying to be someone you are not and your student's will see right through you.

 1.  Establish your classroom community!  Start on day 1 building that community by setting rules, consequences, procedural expectations, and the tone for the classroom.  Continue to do this everyday.  Consistency is the key here!  Even if things start to feel smooth and just right, DON'T stop with the daily review of expectations.  Role play, review, sing songs, read books, and TALK with your kiddos.  Don't assume they know how to do something.  Most of the time, they don't!  Your life will be so much easier and the tone of your classroom will be so much nicer if you have established a solid classroom community. 
One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to be reflective.  It's hard sometimes admitting that we stink at something or we did something wrong.  Keep a notepad or sticky notes around, jot down things throughout the day that pop up that might need to be changed.  After lessons, think about what went really good or what really wrong.  What caused those things to happen?  Share with your support system.  Find other first year teachers and reflect with them.  You will become a better teacher each and everyday if you take the time to just reflect on what happened.
Want to check out what other teacher's have to offer?  Head on over to Chandra's blog and check out what she has to share!


June 26, 2015

Hello! Let me reintroduce myself......

Hey y'all!  It's been awhile, a long while!  I've spent the last few months trying to stay ahead in this real game of life.  The struggle has been  real.  Blogging and doing any serious creating for my TpT store got pushed aside.  I'm a mom and wife first.  And, a woman who now knows I CAN'T do it all. Trying to be Superwoman was killing me.  And as along as I'm keeping it real, I really didn't want to do all those things that kept me from enjoying the life that I have been blessed with.
Let's start with these 2 blessings.  My girls.  Y'all, there's NEVER a dull moment in my house.  If you have teenage girls living in your house, you  absolutely know what I mean!

My other girl, Bella.  This sweet thing is just as rotten as her 2 human sisters are.  Couldn't imagine our life without her!

And Mr. M., my husband of almost 18 years.  He's a good, good man.  After all, he lives in a house full of girls!

And this is how I spent late winter and spring, the soccer field.  I'm so proud of my oldest.  She stepped out of her comfort zone this year as a freshman and went out for the girls soccer team.  What an experience for her, and me!  I didn't know anything about soccer prior to her making the team.  I now know enough to kinda understand what goes on during a game!  We've been watching the USA Women's soccer team compete in the World Cup these past few weeks.  I've enjoyed that time with my girl participating in something that she is passionate about.

And my youngest.  She keeps us in stitches with her quick wit!  She turned 10 this spring and that terrifies me.  She's a baby anymore.  Time needs to slow down.
Now that it's summer, I'm ready to jump back in and start connecting again.  I've missed blogging and creating.  There's so much potential for collaboration.  My teaching has definitely been changed due to what has been shared on social media.  I love that I can find answers, lessons, and suggestions with just 1 click.
So I hope you will continue to join me as I reacquaint myself with the blogging world.  I had to make a change with my url, I am now www.anappleadayin1stgrade.blogspot.com.  I had some very frustrating issues with blogger and could not access my original blog site because of password issues.  The result was creating a new url and having my blog template reinstalled.  Courtney, from Blogs Fit for a Queen, is just amazing.  She updated my blog last summer and thankfully had my template on file.  She was able to work me in her busy schedule and reinstall my template. So hang in there with me as I get everything readjusted.   You can still find me on Instagram under my blog name.  While I may have taken a break from blogging, I surely didn't from Instagram!  I still have my TpT store, same name as my blog.  I'm currently updating some of my old products.  I hope to add some new things before school starts back.
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you will come back and visit again!