1} When I started my first teaching job, I made the biggest mistake by NOT ASKING QUESTIONS. Seems simple enough, but when you are starting as a new teacher you don’t know what questions to ask and it can really set you back and add a lot of stress. I was so excited I got the job, when it came to my first day I just clocked in and walked in the classroom and then what? I was faced with 16 toddlers and not 1 clue.. luckily for me, my co-teacher is amazing and was able to keep things smooth, until I got the hang of it. Some of you may not be so lucky to have help in the beginning so here are a list of things that I wish I would have asked:
- “What is a daily routine for the classroom?” Most classrooms have a typed daily by-the-hour routine that the director can give you, memorize it! TIP – Ask if you can observe a day (if only for a couple of hours) in the classroom before your start date. Seeing how the classroom flows and having the schedule memorized will put you right on top.
- “How are lesson plans created for each class?” In my school, teachers use a program called ‘Tadpoles’ to create lesson plans-add daily reports and photos-notes-and portfolios… that sounds amazing and easy, it’s all-in-one! Well, it is amazing now that I know how to use it. My whole first month I was scrambling trying to figure out how to use all the functions on top of everything that goes into starting in a new classroom, really overwhelming. So learn from my mistake and do not be afraid to ask for a hands-on run down of how to use the programs, they won’t say no!
- “Can I get a potty-break?” Ahem! We all have to go and even though I am bubbly and extroverted, I always feel like an inconvenience when asking for something when I’m not yet comfortable at a new job. I refused to call up to the front office and ask for a potty break so obviously, after morning coffee-a bottle of water-and probably some juice during morning snack I HAD TO PEE! Yet there I was like, “No I’m good I’ll just wait until lunch” Looking back I imagine myself wiggling trying to hurry out of class and hope one of the two bathrooms was open and Whew! made it! Seriously, for your sake, just ask for a potty break- your bladder and sanity will thank you. Scary Thought…. What if both bathrooms were occupied after you waited until lunch?! *gasp*
2} Gossip Girl- No not the Netflix binge-worthy show. Gossip girl is what you want to avoid becoming at your new teaching job. You may not purposely be listening in the staff room or the passerby in the hallway but there will always be some staff members speaking on and on about their coworkers, and sure it can be entertaining but gossip is never smart to take part in- I highly suggest Netflix as your entertainment fix instead. The worst mistake you can make when starting your new teaching job is getting sucked into the drama between coworkers, take a few of my suggestions and keep them in the back of your mind when temptation to speak ill of a coworker comes to fruition.
- When speaking to a fellow staff member, pretend you are being recorded. You would be impressed by how well you sensor yourself. *EVEN IF YOU’RE FRIENDS* Leave negative comments about others in your head or worse case scenario vent to your significant other when you get home [insert apology to boyfriend here]
- It can bite you in the bottom- I am not perfect.. ah that took a lot to admit.. but no I am not perfect, I find myself complaining about a coworker not doing this or always doing that wrong, but by vocalizing that, in reality, I am only making myself look bad! Starting out, we are so focused on first impressions being the most important that we forget so are our lasting impressions… so smile, grin and bear it, do the best you can and don’t take work home with you.
There are many more I am sure that I made, but these two are going to change your professional life dramatically while starting at your new teaching job or turning around your behavior at the school you have become comfortable at. Never too late to make a good impression so smile at everyone and do your best!
-Tess the Teacher