Advice for new teachers. How will you survive your first year?
Where to begin? Where to filter? What worked for me, might not for you. What will work for you, I may not have even thought about. After thinking about this for a few solid days, the best piece of advice I can give is to get connected. You have been hired because you know the content and you have been given some training. But what seems to lack in the current education training world is how to apply the pedagogy. You will not have the years of experience to tell you where students are going to make errors. You will not have the experience to use this phrase instead of that phrase to clarify the meaning of a topic. You will not enter the classroom with the experience of handling everyday situations that become second nature to most teachers. Yet. This will all come in time. It has taken me years, well okay, almost decades to develop into the teacher I am today. And, I am not finished yet. There is always room for improvement.
The one single thing that saved me from running out of the school building at the end of week one and not returning was my connection to others. The internet was still using dial-up modems when I started teaching, so I didn't have social media to help me. I had to go face to face with other teachers. I learned from them. I watched them on my prep. I lacked the art of the HOW. I constantly asked them what would be the best way to present this to where it seemed I was a thorn in their sides. However, it was precious to me that first year. It molded me, shaped me, and prepared me for future years. Throughout my 17 years of teaching, I have always seemed to have someone to bounce my ideas on, to dialogue about the best approach, or to share a disaster of what not to do in class. Other teachers have been like lighthouses to me, always there in calm weather and there when I needed guidance during the darkest, stormiest, crazy days of teaching.
This summer seems to be very similar to my first year of teaching. I have become connected with others outside my school and district. I have become a social media nutter. I have connected with other teachers who are pushing me to challenge what is happening in the classroom traditionally. I have read, and read, and read books, blogs, and posts to make me a better teacher. I would like to lead my department of 22 math teachers into a world where students are engaged and learning instead of being bored to sleep by lecture all the time. I even started this blog to have a place to reflect on my journey. Some posts I make available for all to read. Some are hidden just for me. It's that connection I needed to take my teaching to the next level.
Get connected, stay connected, find new ways to connect.