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Home : 2005 : Apr : 15

    1st year
    By Alicia

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    Here's my advice as a teacher who has almost completed year one!

    1)Make one of your desk drawers a "personal drawer" Make sure you have: snacks for any late nights or mid day snacks, IBUPROFEN for those headaches/cramps, tampons, hairbrush, hair spray, breath mints, change for the pop machine, mouth wash, chapstick, band aids, etc.
    2)Be organized-have a place for everything. If students need to turn in assignments, notes from parents, etc, have a place for this (mine is a plastic bin). Don't tell them to "set it on my desk". If you do this everyday for every student, you won't be able to see your desk.
    3)Plan as far ahead as you can but be flexible to change it.
    4)Keep a calendar/daily planner-if I lost mine I'd be lost forever. Immediately write down important dates (meetings, workshops, conferences). I get a ton of e-mails everyday regarding dates for different things. I keep my planner open and immediately write it down.
    5)Post-its will be your best friend. If I need to leave myself a reminder as I'm running out the door after school, I write it on a post-it and stick it to my computer screen. It's right there and there's no way I can forget when I get their in the morning.
    6)Know that you will change your routine throughout the school year. I just made another change today, and the year is almost done!
    7)Ask for help when you need it, borrow materials and ideas from other teachers if they're willing to share, show your appreciation to all who help you.
    8)Keep copies of your lesson plans-I'm required to turn mine in at the end of the year. You may want to keep a copy for your files too. If you teach the same grade next year it might be helpful to look back.
    9)I make a point of leaving ON TIME at least two times per week if not more. I usually pick one night to stay later. You don't live at school, it's your job. I like this quote "I work to live, not live to work". Remember that!
    10)Delegate jobs if you can. If you have paras who are willing to help, parent volunteers, high school volunteers. Ask for help. They can do some correcting, photo copying, bulletin boards, etc. I'm the type of person who likes to do things myself, but I'm working on letting that go.
    11)Get rid of what you don't need. It's amazing how quickly papers and things can pile up.
    12)Stay up on correcting assignments. If you get behing it's tough to catch up. I teach 4th grade and have correcting to do everyday. If you get behind, it's okay to throw out a few papers here and there instead or correcting them and handing them back. I've done that before and no one as ever noticed.
    13)Remember what matters...your students learning and your sanity! Don't worry about all the fru-fru fluffy stuff that looks cute but has no impact on student learning. Chances are it won't be noticed anyways. A classroom can still look nice and welcoming without the fluff.
    14)Take time for yourself. Let the weekends be yours. Sometimes I bring work home on the weekends, but I save it for Sunday evening or a time when I don't have anything going on. I bring home only what I NEED to get done for Monday and couldn't do on Friday. Taking time for yourself and doing the things you enjoy will make you a better teacher. The balance is important even as a first year teacher.

    Good luck!

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