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ReeseTeacher ReeseTeacher is offline
 
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ReeseTeacher
 
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 796
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:16 PM
 
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I am an elementary teacher finishing up my 7th year teaching this week. I can tell you some common mistakes that any first-year teacher (regardless of grade level) will often make. (I *may* have made a few myself!)

1) Expecting everything to be perfect, and expecting to be the perfect teacher immediately. You will make mistakes. Your first year will not be "stellar". I felt bad looking back on my first class because they were kind of like my "guinea pigs" but that's just the way it goes. A lot of stress and emotional distress comes from the pressure you put on yourself. So...relax and go easy on yourself! It will help with the burn out you will feel.

2) Thinking you have to "know it all" and "get it all right" in front of your experienced colleagues and principal. Ask for advice, take criticism and be open to new things. That will impress people more than "knowing it all".

3) Keep it simple. You probably have some amazing ideas you want to implement right away in your classroom. Just...keep it simple. Maybe try one or two things the first year, save the rest for year 2 and 3. You are going to be overwhelmed already. Don't add extra work for yourself! One example...I had a colleague who started teaching the same year I did. She had this amazing idea to connect with parents. She was going to call every parent at least once a week to tell them something positive that happened in the classroom. This is a great idea in theory because too often the only parent communication tends to be negative. However....within a few weeks, she wasn't able to keep it up!

4) Keep a journal or notebook. You are going to come up with great ideas, see great ideas in other classrooms, etc. write them down. You are also going to have lessons that flop. Write those down too. You think you will remember it all next year....but you won't!!

5) Keep a balance between "toughness/strictness" and "being their friend". Too much of one or the other is not good. If you are only their friend, they won't take you seriously. However, often you get the furthest with behavior issues if you connect with your kids. Find a balance.

6) You don't have to grade everything! Even in high school. I do "spot checks" in 2nd grade. The kids bring me their page (like math problems). I pick one or two to grade. If those are right, I give them a star and they take it home. If they are wrong, then I continue grading the rest of the page and work with the kid to figure out the mistakes. I only ever completely grade assessments and projects. You can adopt some sort of version of this. Like homework....you can spot check them and then mark it as "complete" instead of giving them a grade. Seriously...don't spend all your time grading!!! Waste of time. Save your time to lesson plan and rest instead! (Do grade assessments though)

7) This might be different for older grades, but probably not that different. Communicate with parents BEFORE it becomes a huge issue. Being proactive will save you a lot of trouble. Instead of a phone call saying "Jonny hasn't completed any homework all term and looks like he might fail the final" start with "I noticed Jonny hasn't turned in the last two homework assignments. I am just calling to check on him to make sure things aren't too overwhelming." You will get better results that way.
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