Saturday, August 17, 2013

My 5 Tips for Teaching

For crying out loud, I can't even post Friday's post on time! Tired teacher brain = scattered brain! :) Better late than never I suppose...

Friday is all about teacher tips! I decided to settle on here we go!

1. Ask for HELP! - The best thing you can do for yourself as a teacher is to ask your colleagues (or teacher friends from around the world) for help. Don't try to do everything yourself. Two heads are better than one and there's nothing worse than wasting your energy on re-creating the wheel. I am so thankful to have a team that I feel comfortable enough with to share my struggles and problems with. You may have a problem you think is un-fixable but a new set of eyes can see it in a different way. So don't feel like you can't ask for the words of Nike, JUST DO IT! :)

2. Communicate OFTEN with parents - I have found that keeping an active, open line of communication with parents does wonders for my classroom. My kids have a monthly calendar where I document how their day went (behavior-wise). I send weekly emails on upcoming events and reminders. And if a parent emails me, I try to get back to them within a few hours. I also post information on my class website. I ask for volunteers for study trips, class parties and classroom help. I am just amazed how helpful and supportive the parents are in my room. I tell them that they are their child's first and most important teacher and together we are a team. Of course, there are always exceptions of parents who don't want to talk/help you. In my five years of teaching, I have only found that to be an exception, not the rule. For the majority, parents want to be included in their child's school life and are always willing to help!

3. Get a VENTING buddy - I have found that I need someone to vent to who is a. NOT a teacher b. does NOT work at my school. This person is my best friend, Sarah. :) Sometimes I just want to unload my struggles and complaints on someone who is a third party. Sarah is such a great listener and she always supports me and gives great advice when I am struggling at school. She was my rock during my first year of teaching....when literally every day I wanted to give up. I really think it's important to have someone like that in your life.

4. Try to stay home on the WEEKENDS - OK, I do not always follow this rule. I tend to go up on Sunday afternoons and get things ready for the week. Yes, this is helpful and helps my work week be less stressful. BUT I am really trying to not do this every weekend. I am really trying to stay home this weekend and just relax! If I want to be full of energy and there for my kids this week, I have to take care of myself. Try not to worry if everything didn't get done Friday afternoon. Believe me, it will get done next week. It always does. Take care of yourself FIRST!

5. LAUGH every day - I am so blessed to work with some of the most hilarious kids on the planet. They make me laugh on a daily basis. I am just amazed at how much they love life and learning. I really try my best to make learning fun for them. I think it's important, even in the older grades, to bring humor and laughter into the classroom. Yes, learning and school should be serious sometimes. But it should also bring joy in your life! People often ask me, "How do you keep a straight face when they say such funny things?" And I'm like, "Umm...I don't! I laugh along with them!" Try to bring a little laughter to your day each time you teach. You won't regret it!

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