Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rock Your First Year of Teaching!!!

If you are looking for years of experience in this post, you will not find them. I just finished my first, YES FIRST!!!, year of teaching. With a crazy, rollercoaster year that I had, I can promise I have a few tips and tricks that I am excited to share!! I absolutely love this link up hosted by Teaching with Crayons and Curlsbecause I LOVE hearing others ideas and suggestions!

Let's be clear: I didn't have a perfect year. I had behavior problems and at times I wasn't sure I would have any hair left. But as a class we reached our testing goals for each semester, 16/18 students reached their AR goal, AND (hold the applause) my little rays were ALL green in DIBELS (OMG WHAT???) yep!!! Were we perfect??? In no way, shape, or form!!! Did we learn from each other and have an amazing year? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!! And that is all I needed to have after round one!!

So how do you have a successful first year??? I don't know that there is a way to have a 100% successful hear ever (if there is holla at your girl!). But honestly, what fun would it be if everything flowed smoothly. What kind of stories would you have to tell at family dinners if you didn't have students say hilarious things or if you didn't have a student who thought they were part monkey climbing up walls?? There are always going to be ups and downs but that's what these wonderful connections trough blogging does for us! We inspire each other, share ideas, and offer support that will make a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day bring you hope and smiles :)

Here is fresh-off-the-first-year-train teachers view!!

Make connections- Oh my word!!! I can't stress this one enough! Making connections gives you an outlet to bounce ideas with people, ask advice, and seek mentorship!!! Connect with your teammates, it makes everything easier!!! Find a teacher whom you respect and look up to and ask them to mentor you! I think this is hands down the best thing I did last year! My mentor has been my rock for all of my breakdowns, my ears for new ideas, and my brain for the days when I was just lost with what to do!!

Aways be consistent- This is something I think you need to remind yourself on a weekly (or daily) basis! Classroom management is a perfect example! When I started, I gave my students the rules and we talked about expectations for a long time. There were days, however, when I let things slide that I shouldn't have. That's when the students start to manipulate you! They know how to push buttons and what they can get out of. Now luckily, we did a mini behavior bootcamp when we came back from break and I was stricter, but to not have had to go through the behaviors that we did would have been amazing! Even when you feel a little bad discipling, in the end, the students are going to respect you and love you! (Well I teach K so they usually do!!)

Ask questions- this kind of goes hand-in-hand with connections but I can't stress how important it is to ask questions. Honestly, in the education world, there is no stupid question. We deal with some of the hardest and weirdest situations. You never know what you are going to get. So when you have a questions, ASK IT!! Don't be afraid of sounding silly. Ask them to multiple people! Show interest in what other staff members have to say. It will help you in so many ways!

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT spend money on things you don't need. Personally I wish I had listened to this advice. Use your first year to gauge what you need and what you will use. I do not even want to think about the number of things that I have that I have not and most likely will not use. This goes for decorations, school supplies, games, etc. Even if you are shopping at the Dollar Store, things add up!! Use your first year to understand what materials are important. Ask teachers in the building if they have anything they are willing to get rid of. Be the donation girl!!! Take anything anyone has to offer you before going out and spend your money! You'll thank me :)

Do not try to do everything you see on Pinterest. Now don't get me wrong, Pinterest is an amazing and resourceful site that has multiple ideas on any given topic. That's awesome and I suggest looking up new ways/strategies to teach, however, when you start to put all the things on your Kindergarten Board, you are all of the sudden neck deep in a DIY filled pond. There is nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed. Actually, there is nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed AND being a first year teacher. Once you are trying to do to many new things and you aren't successful with one, you are going to be sad. No, you are going to feel DEFEATED. You are going to walk yourself into a never ending question battle over why you chose teaching and clearly it's not working and you're a horrible teach and YADDA YADDA YADDA. None of its true. Absolutely none of it! Find a fee cute ideas and try them out. Dont make a list of fifty new things. You will regret it. And you will need a mental health day to deal with it if you do.

"Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning." Does it get simpler than that? If you are reading this, you love your job. Even more, you ARE your job. Teaching isn't something you do from first bell to end bell. You are up some nights until dawn making sure your lessons are ready. You're searching for a way to make contractions fun. You're spending time that you could be sleeping, eating, even breathing, to your teaching because it is that important. Many people don't see that, but you know who does? YOUR STUDENTS. No matter how unappreciated you may feel sometimes, your kids love you. They appreciate you. In fact, some will ask you to be their mom (come on, don't lie, they have asked you too, right?!) You are their world! They see you more than anyone else and when you enter the room with a smile because this isn't just your paycheck, it's your PASSION, they know and they pick up on that and want to make you proud. Is every single child going to come in excited to learn? Not everyday. Sometimes you will have one or two who you can try anything with and they still show no emotion. But don't stop loving your job. Remember that smile from one student when they read the word 'cat' for the first time. Remember the laugh you heard from the student who came in not speaking. Remember the hug you got from your little munchkin that you had to discipline but still loves you because you show him warmth and compassion. It's because of you that these kids are successful. It's because of you that these kids have a chance.

GOOD LUCK FIRST YEAR TEACHERS !! And trust me, second year teachers need this too ;)

Link up and share your advice because I know I will be reading all of these for myself!!!!!


  1. What great advice!!!! You are going to rock your 2nd year of teaching!!!!!!

  2. Hi Molly!
    Your advice got me emotional. We have the best job! And you're right, kids will still love you even after getting in trouble. I've been teaching 11 years and I have noticed that teachers that reflect on their practices only get better. You are on your first year and you've already picked up the habit. Good luck to you on your second year. You'll be great!

    Made with Love

    1. Thank you so much!!! I got a little emotional writing it!

  3. Such amazing advice! I will definitely have to pass this on to one of my teammates who is heading into her second year! You are going to do amazing your 2nd year! I'm so glad I found your blog on the link up. You definitely have a new follower!

    Yee-Haw in Kindergarten

    1. Thank you so much! That means so much to me! I just love that our job lets us continue to learn and grow! So amazing :)