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pastafordays pastafordays is offline
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 7
New Member

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 7
New Member

Old 07-30-2017, 07:49 PM
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Congrats! I'm a new teacher, too, and have spent the bulk of the summer scouring advice from education blogs, books, and current/former teachers.

I've heard far too many stories from teachers online and in my life burning out from hours spent looking for and creating assessments, unit plans, lesson plans, and in-class materials. While I know that the first year is full of huge learning curves in terms of curriculum, classroom management, work/life balance, and school culture, it seems like it's easy for educators to spend hours reading articles or blog post after blog post that include ideas of implementing these in-class materials in lessons. However, this approach overwhelmed me in student teaching.

What I'm doing this year is purchasing a curriculum from teacherspayteachers that other teachers and principals have recommended to me for teaching 3-5 Science (since not everything on there is worth purchasing). This already includes a set of high-quality assessments, activities, unit plans, lesson plans, and in-class materials that were created by a teacher who teaches the same grade levels and subject and uses the same state standards as I will. While my goal is to prevent getting overwhelmed with the pressure to "reinvent the wheel," especially my first year, this curriculum actually is well-organized and easily modifiable so that I can meet the needs of my students. This also helps me get to know my subject's content and best practices in a way that removes the hours of trying to organize resources from multiple locations (and put my time towards other things).

I highly recommend checking out the book See Me After Class by Roxanna Elden (for managing all of the decisions you make for yourself and your students your first-year) and The First Days of School (for laying out norms/procedures and classroom management) by Harry and Rosemary Wong.

Geometry was my worst subject in school - since I was an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, my school required us to take Geometry Honors, even though math wasn't my strongest subject. After four failed tests with the lowest score in the class, my teacher was observant enough to recognize that I needed help understanding certain concepts that I developmentally wasn't absorbing with the work she assigned to the class. She spent hours after school tutoring me, and I ended up with a hard-earned B (without any extra credit - she believed students should earn grades based on assessing mastery of, not through practicing, concepts). The best advice I can give is to not give up on these students and do everything you can to give them extra/the right kind of support for them as an individual learner. I tried so hard to just fall through the cracks and dig myself out of my own confusion with geometry because I was embarrassed of what my classmates, and my teacher, would think of me if they knew that one of the top-scoring students in English class was failing Geometry. I didn't want to be a burden for her because I knew that she taught multiple classes at a high-risk school. If I could tell teachers one thing, it's that not every student will ask (or even know how to ask) for help, even if they need it, because they are embarrassed of being perceived as dumb, incompetent, unreliable, worthless, etc. or they don't want to inconvenience the teacher. Even though it took many hours of my and my teacher's time to get me caught up, please, she didn't give up on struggling students. My teacher's dedication to giving me the highest quality of learning for my needs motivated me to work harder in her class (and even made me decide to become a teacher).
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