This first week is sort of killing me. I'm out of "teacher shape." But it's so fun to be back! It's weird how quick you can fall back into teacher mode.
First day of school outfit! Yes I planned this days in advance, just like 2nd grade. I miss you Tweety Bird backpack.
- Be more serious. Last year it was hard to not feel like an intern. It was hard to take myself as a teacher seriously, because I felt that many people in the staff and administration weren't taking me seriously. Like I was just a cheap placeholder. As long as I wasn't causing problems or making waves, they could just forget about me. Teaching is a profession, and one we should take pride in. We get to change lives and be someone vitally important in these teen's lives. It means dressing more professionally (even though I was overdressed compared to much of the staff last year), paying real attention in my meetings and stepping up to help where I can in the school.
- Be on time. It's so easy to roll in a little late, especially as the year goes on. I don't clock in. No one is waiting at my door. Yet, the days when I am on time run much more smoothly. Not to mentions it is a measure of honesty and integrity that I can improve upon.
- Plan in advance. I hate to admit this, but I don't think I'm alone in "flying by the seat of my pants" many days. It wasn't uncommon to have no idea what we were doing next week, not to mention days that I didn't even read through the PowerPoint for the following day. I was so tired and overwhelmed sometimes, but in reality it only made me more stressed and exhausted to feel unprepared and naive. I've never been a formal lesson planner, but this year I'm thinking out my agenda for each day and outlining it briefly. I already feel more confident about it.
- Spend more time with my students. The best memories from last year were times that I was interacting with my students, even if it wasn't directly related to the curriculum. I want to meet my kids at the door - it makes a huge difference. I want to ask them about themselves and follow up with what's going on in their lives. I want them to feel comfortable with me (not in a friend way, don't misunderstand me), and to know that I value them.
- Emphasize positivity. Last year I figured this out halfway through the year. I had the choice of spending another semester stressing about assignments, tests and notes, or I could have fun teaching. And I did! I reinforced my important rules, and then let everything else go. We started having a great time learning, and I think the kids appreciated it even more than I did.
- Be a better example. This school is very different than Mapleton Junior High. A large section of the staff and student body are nonmembers, and it really made me examine my conduct. Do I want to be one of those Mormons that reinforces their views of bigoted hypocrites? No! I want to be a good person, a great teacher and a fun friend that is also a Latter-day Saint.
- Take care of myself. Last year I would wait until I was sick to sufficiently hydrate and sleep. I wasn't super vigilant about hand sanitizer. I would veg on the couch when I was tired after school, instead of making myself exercise. I drank WAY too much DDP. I'm trying to set a healthier pattern. I've even gone to the gym on my way home after school! (It helps that I get off at 3:30 and the Beard works till 10)
To my new teacher and prospective teacher friends - don't get frustrated because your idealistic view isn't materializing. It won't for a while. And don't get bogged down in the administrative logistical details of daily teacher life. Take some time to remember why you are doing this and what you (and the kids) will remember in 5 years. I'm going to strive to remember our district motto:
Every child, everyday.