If I had Starbucks date with myself one year from today, this is probably what I would have said:
1. Believe in yourself: It's not a matter of if I can teach these students...but a matter of how. Every student is capable of learning...how can I reach them best?
2. Model the behavior you want to see from your students: Integrity speaks VOLUMES! It can help you earn students' trust.
3. Don't be scared to ask for help: co-workers, counselors, administration, the husband...friends...the worst you will hear is "no."
4. Write and reflect: Find a way to take notes on what occurred that day, via lesson plans or classroom management. Next year, when you prep, you will be happy you reflected! (currently I am so happy I took notes my 1st year. There are some things I am NEVER doing again!)
5. Communicate in a timely manner with parents: Do NOT ignore parent emails, even when they are tedious and seem to be unnecessary. **Last year I had so many great comments from parents who were so grateful I responded back when they reached out to me. Sometimes my response was a few days later, but I had several parents say that some teachers NEVER emailed back...a few days later is better than NEVER.
6. Establish routine at the beginning of the year: The 1st few weeks are the most important with your students. Show them how your class works the first time around, not 12 weeks later! If it takes some students actually practicing how to find the absent work, then model it!
7. Have a plan, but be flexible: You never know how the school scheduling, testing season, etc can affect your class. Be prepared, but give yourself permission to be flexible (it will hurt less later, promise!)
8. Don't take it personally: Yes, some parents, kids, or coworkers may not like you, and may not treat you very nice. You are dealing with a lot of people in one day...someone is bound to rub you the wrong way. Stick to your guns and breathe! You know who you are, and that's what matters!
9. Keep things as easy as possible: Always remember you want the students to learn--that is the number 1 priority. If they aren't learning, stop and figure out how to help them learn! It's all about them, not about you!
10. Have fun! Lighten up a little! Find a common joke or thing to laugh about with your students or coworkers (with one class, talking about the show The Big Bang Theory was always something that brought us together). Let kids laugh at you--they knew that I loved Star Wars, so anytime I could talk about Han Solo, I would! They would roll their eyes, but at least they had something in common to laugh about!
Any tips you teacher friends can add to this list?!