Thursday, August 22, 2013

5 "pearls" for surviving your first year...

I've just started my second year of teaching and I'm just laying in bed, relaxing, thinking wow it's nice that I have tomorrow prepared and Monday prepared and so on and on.... I could be doing more (of course) but then I flashed back to where I was a year ago at this point. How far I've come. So I wanted to think of advice I have for teachers starting their first year and I will format in the way I'm doing for my first assignment of all my classes (a Dear Math letter inspired by the Michael Jordan retirement letter to basketball.. post to follow)

Dear Miss Rudolph,

Breathe. It's all I can tell you to do because nothing I say will make you believe that you will survive. You're starting your career in a rigorous school that will challenge you and make you work harder than you knew you could, and guess what, you'll find even more challenges/adventures to involve yourself in next year! But that's who you are, you challenge and push yourself just like you do your students. Breathe.

Breathe. You know those tears welling up because you can't quite recall how to do polynomial long division? It's okay. You have a wonderful tool that high school students haven't quite figured out, it's called google and it got you through that ridiculous major they call your favorite subject, mathematics. If you can survive those math classes, you can absolutely survive teaching a high school level one. Breathe.

I have 5 tips/pearls/words of wisdom and food for thought to help you stay afloat in your first year.

1) stay afloat. don't get over involved. if you have to leave on the dot at 2:45, it's okay. that migraine won't go away without a nap or medicine and your kids will be fine with out you. it's okay to say no to that child who wanders in for help without giving you advance notice, you're teaching him a lesson, communication. just survive.

2) build relationships. those coworkers who helped you out during teacher week, they do it because they were once you. you will appreciate them more than you recognize now and they will become your friends. not only are your coworkers important but the people who went into education for are important as well. the students. build strong relationships with your students so that they trust you inside and out and know that you are there to support them and build them up. oh and smiling can't hurt either.

3) pin/google/bookmark. there are tons of already created amazing lessons out there. you weren't hired to reinvent the wheel, you were hired because your employer saw something special in you and knew that you would go above and beyond for your students. so pin away and search for those lessons. you might not use them at first while you are trying to survive but when you have that summer break or that long weekend, go through those ideas and find a way to use them, you'll be the coolest teacher at school if you do.

4) get organized. I know for you, miss rudolph, that this sounds like a pointless thought as you are already organized. but you have to get organized for the sake of your students. they thrive on routines and will make your job easier if they understand what is expected of them in a daily routine/weekly routine/test routine/remediation routine. if they know where to pick up things and drop off things, you will save words, energy and time.

5) breathe.

You're going to make it, I know you will, as there have been many teachers before you who have gotten through just fine, but you'll be more than fine. You'll be amazing and continue to improve.

Be strong,

Miss Rudolph

To all the first year teachers out there, you can do it. I promise, just breathe :)

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