Are you starting your first or even second year of teaching? If so you will quickly realize how much different it is than student teaching. I remember thinking I was so prepared to teach and had the perfect plan of how things would run all figured out. Well that was my first mistake...Thinking I had it all figured out. Because if there is one thing I wish I knew my first year teaching it is that you should always plan for things to not go as planned.
Here are just a few examples of what I wish I knew:
1. Always have back up activities and supplies.
See this great clothespin word matching activity?
Well it started out not so great... I bought some of those adorable mini clothespins in all kinds of glittery colors to make it more fun for my students to match the letters. Did I mention my first year teaching was in 3 & 4 year old pre-kindergarten? So those adorable little clothespins? They were really hard for my kids to use. They kept falling apart, the letters were too hard to read, and they wouldn't stay on the word cards. Luckily the teacher down the hall had some extra regular clothespins that I quickly labeled with letters and saved the activity
2. If you teach 3-5 year olds that may not recognize their name, use picture labels!
Look at these little cuties enjoying their snack the first week of school. Everyone is smiling, making friends, socializing and finding their name tag at their table spot.
I spent the weeks before school started, labeling supplies, cubbies, tables, etc. with all of my students names. I figured it will be so great that they see their name everywhere so they can practice recognizing the letters and eventually writing it independently. Except, those nice little name tags didn't have their picture on them on the first day, and let me tell you the chaos that ensued! When 15 kids show up at your door simultaneously each morning and none of them can recognize their name, no one knows where to go and you're herding cats! Then crazy chaos happens again when they are looking for their table spot, center rotation, supply bin, etc. Eventually they all recognized their name, but those little photo cues saved me from losing my marbles the first week of school.
3. You will love these kids more than you ever imagined!
Okay I kind of knew this one before teaching, but after spending every day together, celebrating huge achievements and making it through really, REALLY tough challenges. It is so hard to say goodbye at the end of the year. The thing about teaching pre-k and kinder is that these little babies grow up so much in just 9 months and it is hard to let them go. So enjoy every crazy minute, be spontaneous, laugh and play with your students whenever you can. They will remember those moments most especially your really tough kiddos.
If you are just starting out your teaching journey, good luck! Our profession is challenging and gets tougher every year, but when you're struggling just look at those sweet faces and you'll remember why its all worth it.