Monday, August 22, 2011

Tips for Teachers

Now that we're pretty much all back in the swing of things, I thought I'd write about what I've learned over the years as a teacher as well as a parent.

1. Always keep the old. At the end of the school year most schools do a bit of house keeping and everything comes down and {hopefully} gets packed away. When I changed rooms this year I moved up to an older class, I still moved all my professional materials but most of my lesson plans and such didn't apply to the class. It was wishful thinking on my part to hope that last years teacher had left behind her goods, but nope, I had a hard time find many regular items {posted daily schedules, job charts, art materials, etc.} It was pretty exhausting realizing everything I would need would most likely have to be purchased all over again this year, however, next year I'll definitely start off with a nice bucket of stored treats. :)

2. Ask for help. Again, as the new kid on the hall, I've spent plenty of time asking other co-workers where things are located and how to do particular paperwork and the such. I even emailed my director and was flat out honest when I needed help with some classroom behavior. It was a bit intimidating to have to ask but if I'm to be the best I can, then I certainly will need help to get there.

3. Keep in contact with parents. I think this strategy is a must! My assistant actually printed up small business cards with our class information on it and they were handed out on registration day. I want my families to feel as if they can contact me in need of questions and concerns. I understand as our children grow this aspect of teacher/parent relationship seems to change and possibly dwindle but not so in pre-k, we even email our lesson plans to families! :)

4. Use parents as a resource. I typically send out a monthly letter to parents informing them of what we'll be discussing as well as what items I could use in class. They're usually inexpensive and offer great parenting hours.

5. Use companies as a resource. Companies are also a great way to receive interesting materials and most of the time the items will be free! It's simply taking the time to reach out and ask. And, this is where your parents can help out as well, some may feel comfortable enough to go to their own businesses and ask for resources or donate from their own self-run companies.

6. Keep it simple and keep it fun. Kids are all about fun. I remember the teachers I admired the most who took the time to make our subjects exciting and enjoyable {particularly those math teachers}. In pre-k pretty much all our learning is done through an enjoyable activity; it's through play that children learn. And when you're having a grand time, the kids do as well. :)

7. Balance your time and don't forget to take some time for yourself. I think this idea can be a bit difficult at times for teachers. We tend to bring our work home, and even if we aren't grading papers or entering observations, we're coming up with lesson plans or thinking about families. I hope that once I get caught up on my projects I'll be able to cut my work day a little shorter and then incorporate more me time in with workouts. I believe a fit body/mind creates an atmosphere others want to be around. And, we need to model to our kids the importance of physical activities and health by living it ourselves. 

8. Expect the best, pray for the worse, and always end the day on a positive note. I've had a more challenging room this year and I always try to end it on a possible note. I try to remember and thank my assistance for all their work that day and tell the children bye when I leave {those I see in extended care}. It's important to remember why we do what we do, especially when it gets hard and we'd prefer to throw our hands up and simply walk away. Life isn't always gonna be easy and we should judge whether or not we're in the right working place for ourselves, but even with a little challenge, we grow and learn and still set an example of how we can do these things positively.

So, there you have it, my two cents on teaching. I'd love to hear from other teachers out there and how they make it happen in their rooms!

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