school starts for me in one week. i’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the past few years lately. i want to know what i did right and what i can improve on. in the beginning, i didn’t know anything.
with the first few years, there will be a lot of unknowns. you won’t have the experience that other teachers will have. but you will have the excitement and energy, and that’s important too. as you gain experience, sometimes you lose sight of those things. with the excitement comes responsibility too. so here are a few things that you will be responsible for:
- knowing your content – luckily, you’ve got some background in your content. but study up on the things that you are rusty on. follow your state standards. learn more as you go.
- being the leader – no need to be their friend. just be prepared for class and confident in your abilities. there will be times when you don’t feel in control. this is normal. but as soon as you feel that happening, turn it around.
- providing a safe environment – organization and a routine are key! set the rules and follow them. establish positive and negative consequences – use them.
- being innovative – try new things. they may fail, but they might not! use technology and strategies. even if it doesn’t work, there’s plenty of lessons to be learned in the trying.
- developing relationships with your students – learn about your students as people. encourage them and don’t be afraid to use humor.
- establishing and communicating objectives – set clear goals and tell the kids where they’re going and what they will learn.
- delivering instruction – more than anything: be prepared. also, keep direct instruction to a minimum or deliver it in chunks. remember that kids have trouble paying attention for too long.
- teaching strategies for test-taking, reading, writing, etc. – use strategies that are useful and easy that they can use on standardized tests and your assessments.
- attending to any students with special needs/gifted needs – don’t leave these kids behind. they’re special and learn in a different way. they just need a little extra help.
- providing feedback to students and parents – grade quickly and return papers. this is difficult because grading is the worst. but it’s a necessary evil. discuss any grading issues in private with the student. contact the child’s guardian if there are any issues. don’t wait too long! keep them in the loop.
- completing your duties – you may have dance duty or need to watch over the kids during lunch or be required to work the concession stand for a football game. whatever it is, do it. if you can’t make it, find someone to replace you or switch with you. but don’t skip it altogether.
*if you have a question about something or you are unsure of any of your responsibilities, ask someone. go to your mentor, the teacher across the hall, the school secretary, or your principal. you can even ask me! just ask. it’s better to ask what to do than to be caught not doing what you didn’t know you were supposed to be doing in the first place.