Here's my second blog hoppin' post for the week. Today's topic is giving advice to new teachers. I will qualify that as giving advice to teachers who are in their first year of teaching because I am still a new teacher. So here's my little bits of advice.
1. Don't take on too much at once. It's very tempting when you first start teaching to join all the committees, to start all the extra-curricular activities, and to implement every good idea you've ever heard. It's not possible. You still have to teach full time and have a life outside of the classroom. Focus on a few key things that are very important to you and don't be afraid to cut things out if you feel you're getting overwhelmed.
2. Ask for advice and help from other teachers but reserve the right to ignore it if what they say doesn't fit with how you want to teach. Listen respectfully to what they have to say, use it if it's a good idea, store it away for later if you don't want to do it.
3. Have fun! Teaching can be a very joyful career. We are so lucky to be surrounded be children who look up to us and we can get in there and play from time to time. If you enjoy what you do, share that joy. Your students will pick up on that enthusiasm.
4. Try not to get bogged down by the negative things other people say. Whether it's about a student or a new program or the weather, some teachers (and people in general) just vent all that negativity to whoever will listen. As teachers we sometimes have more than enough emotional strain in our lives and don't need any extra. Let it be like water off a ducks back rather than taking on that negativity.
5. Be your own advocate. This goes even more so for substitute teachers who are trying to get full time teaching jobs. Don't be afraid to let administrators know how wonderful you are and what you are willing to do, what extra special things you bring to education. You are special and you are caring and you are amazing at many things. I know this because you are a teacher and only special, caring and amazing people are called to be teachers.
Have a wonderful first year!