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Home : 2003 : Nov : 12

    By Sue W.

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    Here are a few hints from a background of 30 years as a teacher.
    1. Don't let the Vent board scare you! Have you ever talked with a happily married person or parent who just has to complain confidentially about a normally great spouse or child? This is our spot. A lot that you see here is from people who try to take one day at a time and have had several days hit them at once. No matter what job a person has, there are frustrations. Many take care of themselves or are manageable.
    2. When you are working with kids, don't let yourself take misbehavior personally, it seldom is, and even when it might be, keeping your cool is the teacher's "First Rule In A Crisis Situation". If you teach good behavior, as if they never heard it before, rather than getting upset, it can work wonders.
    3. Assume parents mean well, you are dealing with their greatest treasure! They may be uninformed or even a little nuts, but try to see how they are looking at things, keep your cool.
    4. Assume your administrators, teacher educators and supervising teachers mean well. Some have lost track of what it actually is like working with children. Others are overworked and under pressure from the "higher ups" and pass it on. Most are better off if you succeed and will try to help.
    5. Choose wisely when you look for a job, some situations are begging for trouble. Ask questions as well as answer them in an interview. If you don't like the way things are run it may only be worse if you are stuck there.
    6.When you find a job, get to know your co-workers, both experienced capable teachers and other excited new teachers can offer worlds of wonderful ideas and support. Discover who the dissatisfied people are and avoid them, though even there you can learn by example of what not to be or do.
    7. Expect that you will have work outside the school day, but try to keep it in check. You need time for yourself, your family, and the people you care about. Eat well, get some exercise.
    8. Be prepared for each day, with a little extra to spare. Sometimes a teachable moment may lead you in another direction and change your plan but knowing you aren't going to HAVE to wing it prevents a lot of stress.
    9. Continue to be a learner yourself. Read professional magazines, take a class or a workshop regarding education, or classes on basketweaving or social dance or something else not school related to keep your mind functioning and remembering what it is like being a student.

    Best wishes!

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