Ironically, as I was sitting ready to write this post, I stumbled across the linky party by one of my very first Bloggy Buddies - Hadar. I started going back and forth with Hadar years ago across email and blog comments, and while I have still yet to meet her in person, she is always there with the kindest of comments. We've shared in some teaching struggles along the way in our journeys and so this post was even more meant to to be. I love sharing the things I've learned because it is by no means an easy journey, but it is fun and worth it.
1. In the beginning I used to stay til 5 and 6 o'clock. Now I don't. Trust me on this: LEAVE and don't take the work with you. Go home. Sit on your sofa. Watch SVU marathons or the shows on your DVR. Don't think about school. The alarm will go off soon enough in the morning. Everything will be waiting for you at 6:30 and 7 in the morning just the way you left it.
2. Leave your room clean - and make your kids responsible for cleaning part of it, partly because they like cleaning it, partly because it teaches them responsibility, and partly because it's one less thing you have to do.
3. Things will fall through the cracks. At the end of the day did all the kids leave your room happy? Did they make it to the bus? Did you survive? Was fun had?
4. I still hold by this one - seating placement is a very strategic thing. You move one, you move them all.
5. Call me OCD, call me crazy, but sorting my construction paper by color is the biggest time saver ever!
6. Be willing to share your craft. No teacher is an island and none of us got here alone. We all need a little help from time to time. Offer it.
7. We can learn so much from other around us. Don't be too proud to listen and accept their knowledge. I am better because of coaches and teachers with whom I work and I would not be where I am without them.
8. Be creative. Always.
9. Nothing stays the same - not your teammates, or administration, or the people you work with on a day in and day out basis. Find one person you can trust and count on and just go with it.
10. This goes off of #9, but it is the advice I gave my friend last night as she was nervous starting her brand new teaching job in a new state away from all of us she knew. I reminded her that two years ago she started with us. She said she knew a few people and this time she was all alone. Here was what I have learned (being older):
"Sometimes it's better that way - to not know anyone...[she said she's shy, and I reminded her I am as shy as they come]...I know it's really scary at first and I know you'll be really quiet at first. Maybe some people will think you are a B and some people won't. I did and look how that turned out. ;) But you'll be so much better because of it. It's such a growing and gratifying experience. This is your clean slate. Make it what you what. The point is that you reach a point where you can't care about the other people. You're there for the kids. You're not meant to be friends with everyone. You're not meant to trust everyone. Wear a smile. Be cautious. Be quiet. Have your ears open. Learn a lot. Have fun."
Isn't that the nice thing about teaching? We really get to begin each school year this way if we want to!