Looking back in my almost 20 year career, I have learned quite a few things about teaching, life, and how to try to balance the two. My advice to new teachers:
1.) Surround yourself with positive people, if you don't have a mentor, find one!
2.) Don't be afraid to ask for help! It's o.k., give yourself permission to do that!
3.) Beg, borrow and steal - but say "please" and "thank you", give credit where credit is due.
4.) Keep a journal, write down all the funny things your kids say and do. Looking back, I wish I would've started that my first year. The old brain can't quite remember everything.
5.) Family comes first, try not to make school your entire life! (although that's easier said than done!) Make time for those milestone moments that you can never get back. Life is too short.
6.) Remember, whatever is bothering you or upsetting you, keep in mind, "this too, shall pass". I know that sounds so cliche, but its true!
7.) Remember there is no such thing as the perfect lesson. You can plan til the cows come home, but 9 times out of 10, your plan will change! And that's o.k..
8.) Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and not say what's on your mind. You have to become Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie", (I know, I am seriously dating myself here! Yikes!) cross your arms, nod your head and say, "Yes, Master" to administration, to your principal. But then, you go back to your classroom, shut the door, and teach like you know it should be done! You know your kids best! That's why they often call us "Mom", instead of Mrs. .....
9.) Don't burn bridges. You never know what colleague might come back to be your principal or superintendent.
10.) Document EVERYTHING to CYA!!! (cover your a$$) Keep careful records of parent phone calls, dates, times, etc... make copies of notes, this will protect you. Communicate often and clearly.
and most of all, have FUN! Enjoy your class, savor those moments with your students that make you laugh or cry! Best wishes to all those new teachers out there. Have a wonderful year!
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