What I Wish I Knew My First Year Teaching {Tickled Pink in Primary}

I will never forget my 1st year of teaching. It was a time of learning, growing, and building relationships with students, parents, and colleagues. I feel like every year we learn so much that makes us a better teacher, but I do wish I knew a few of these tips 10 years ago. 
When I look back on my early years as a teacher, I wish I had trusted my gut instincts more. There are times when I followed the textbook and curriculum even though I didn't think it was what was best for my students. I was too nervous to say something to my principal because I was a new teacher....do I really know what's better for my students than what these teachers have been doing for years? The answer is YES! No matter if it's your 1st year or 10th year, do what is best for kids! 

We had to do these math worksheets every day during small group or whole group. They were miserable!! The kids were so bored and I was so bored covering the material the way the textbook said.  I love to be creative and do more interactive lessons, so I would have thrown these worksheets in the trashcan! 
Ask for help, you can't do it all! Ask anyone and everyone to come in and volunteer. The students absolutely love helpers and the helpers love getting a chance to help students learn. My first few years, I didn't ask for as much help as I probably should have. Then I realized how nice it is to have volunteers work with individual students or a small group to give them some extra attention. When I taught in my hometown for a few years, my grandmothers would come in and help. They absolutely LOVED it!!!
It's so nice to get some fresh air, so take your learning outside more often. I wish I realized how much just a little break from being in the stuffy classroom could help. Students can take their books and do reading outside, use clipboard to do worksheets, or even take some games and just play them in the grass instead of on the rug.
I always had a classroom website so my parents could see what we were up to in the classroom. However, I was always the one taking the pictures. Finally about my 7th year of teaching, I started to let students use the iPad and take pictures of their work. They had to take pictures of something they were proud of, not just silly pictures. My students really enjoyed taking these photos! Then I'd give a few kids an opportunity to share the photos with the class after center time. Look how cute they are just posing next to their work while a friend takes their photo!
I'm such a neat freak, so having a messy room is really hard for me. However, when I look back at my years of teaching, some of the things I think my students liked the most, was when we did projects. I would get out all kinds of craft supplies and let students use whatever they wanted and spread out all around the room. They loved the creativity of it and having so many choices. They were very good about cleaning up after we finished, but I have to admit, it was hard for me to deal with the big mess!
Good luck with your 1st year teaching!

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