I am just about to start my eleventh year of teaching. Oh man, has it really been that long ... that makes me sound super old ... big sigh! Oh well, I definitely still remember my first year of teaching. I got my first teaching job less than a week before new teacher orientation. I was excited, nervous, and a bit overwhelmed! Here are two things that I wish I had known my first year of teaching.
My first thing that I wish I knew was to write to-do lists and prioritize them.
I'm not going to lie, I totally still struggle with this BUT I am getting better. My first year of teaching I would stay FOREVER at school and then I had an hour commute to my apartment.
I wish I had setup a daily to-do list to help me prioritize. Here are some quick tips to help you setup a daily to-do list.
IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE CUTE!
I know, I know it makes my heart hurt and I love pens and stickers just as much as any other teacher ... but it's a waste of my time! When I write my daily to-do list, I normally either write it on a sticky note or on a dry erase board that I have hanging next to my teacher area. Done and done ... and it saves me time!
PRIORITIZE, PRIORITIZE, PRIORITIZE
I so wish that somebody had told me my first year that it didn't all have to get done TODAY! I learned to prioritize but not till much later in my teaching career.
One thing that I do now is that I try my best to accomplish five tasks from my to-do list each day. I definitely have to prioritize those five tasks, so I ask myself the following 3 questions...
1) What NEEDS to get done today? Will I need it for tomorrow to accomplish my lessons?
2) What can wait till tomorrow? What won't I need to accomplish my lessons?
3) What is not important? Do I really need to do _____?
I will say that number 3 is the one thing that I wish I had asked myself my first year. I remember my first year teaching I was determined to have a big paper tree in my classroom library. It was a BIG pain and a BIG waste of time. Was it really important? NO! Could I have spent my time more wisely? TOTALLY! So make sure you ask yourself number 3 when you are trying to prioritize your to-do list.
SKIP THE CHIT-CHAT
Ok, I know this is sooo sooo hard to do but trust me it will give you that extra time to accomplish your to-do list. I love spending time with my teammates but you really need to have time by yourself in your room to get stuff done.
My friend Megan from I Teach What's Your Superpower has an awesome post about posting a sign when you are busy working and can't chat. Isn't it beautiful?!?! (#ALL THE HEART EYES!!)
You can read her post HERE and trust me you want to read it because she shares an awesome printable that you can post on your door during your work time. I hope it helps you get that to-do list accomplished and knocked out!!
The last thing I wish I knew was to not be afraid of using technology in the classroom.
I am super super embarrassed to admit this but my first few years of teaching I did not use any technology in my classroom. I used Discovery Education but that was it! I know, it's super shocking!
I so wish that I had used more tech in my classroom and had just jumped in. You learn so much from trial and error. The more you try the easier and better you will become at it.
Here are two of my favorite tech tools that you can use in your classroom.
Click HERE to read a blog post all about using QR Codes for Reading Respones.
Click HERE to read a blog post all about using Tellagami.
So the top two things that I wish I had known my first year of teaching were ...
Write To-Do Lists and Prioritize Them
Do Not Be Afraid of Using Technology in the Classroom
What do you wish you had known your first year of teaching? Make sure you comment and let me know!