What I Wish I Knew My First Year of Teaching {from Aloha to Second}

When I think back on my first year of teaching, my stomach actually turns!  I feel so bad for all the things I did wrong!  I wish I had someone to share these tips with me; I would have felt much more successful that year.  I mean, I'm sure it wasn't that bad, but I am definitely better now! :] 

My first year of teaching I was SO worried that I wouldn't get all the standards in or have my kids prepared for the next school year.  I was also overly concerned about testing.  These fears caused me to not take the time to get to know the whole student.  This was a BIG mistake.

I have learned that I am a MUCH better teacher now that I take the time to get to know each kid.  One way that I do this is by having a student of the week.  You can find my forms by clicking on the image below.

I have a unique set of daily activities for my student of the week forms, but one of my favorites is eating lunch with my student of the week.  My kids LOVE this, and honestly I love it too.  Sometimes, your kiddos will even bring you special treats when you eat with them - like my kiddo above brought me some Starbucks treats! :] 

This is a great time to sit and just listen to your student.  They love to talk, and this is a perfect time to really get to know the whole child.  Let me tell you, it helped me be a much better teacher.  I am  now able to teach to each student and find ways to help each student be successful. 

Not only should you get to know your kids, but you should also let them get to know YOU.  Like I said above, I was so terrified that I was going to get in trouble or not get everything in, that I never told stories or let my kids get to know me as a person.

My relationship with my students has grown since I started doing that, and they LOVE hearing stories about me.  It also helps teach my students listening skills, comprehension, story-telling skills, and communication.  This is one way to develop a well-rounded student, and it is fun. 

I was terrified of parents my first year.  I tried to keep an appropriate distance so that I wouldn't upset them.  Don't worry - they're not that scary.  Also, they really love to come into your classroom and see how things are going. They love to have any opportunity to read to your class or see your class demonstrate something for them.  

Above you can see my kids having a poetry bash.  Each student stood up and recited a poem to the parents.  The parents were so excited and you could also see the pure excitement from my students.  These are the things your students will remember - take any chance you can to make a memory.  

Don't feel the  need to spend money to be a good teacher.  I remember starting and feeling like I needed to spend a ton of money to make my classroom cute or to make my activities fun.  That is NOT true!  

Above you can see that I simply printed off a sign, used bulletin board paper from the lounge, pulled over a table, and taped together a microphone from black paper.  This activity my kids pretended to be reporters and shared about their non-fiction books.  They were so excited about this simple, cheap activity, and also participated in a great learning experience. 

So, don't worry!  You do NOT need to go out and spend lots of money.  Be resourceful and use the things in your classroom/school. Also, don't be afraid to ask parents for supplies to borrow or other teachers.  People are always eager to help. 

Finally, dress up!  Find reasons to dress up and extend the invite to your kids.  Here we are dressed up for the 50th day of school.  It is fun and the kids will remember things like this.  They continue to learn all day, but it makes the learning so much more fun.
Find cheap props to use when teaching and make your classroom exciting!

Remember, you will be AWESOME!  You may look back one day and think, "I can't believe I did that."- like I do.  But, honestly - you are still making a difference whether you feel it or not.  Stay positive and have fun!  Don't be afraid to ask questions.
You are a ROCKSTAR!

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