My fellow teachers who have just gotten back into the swing of things, or entering your first year, this one is for you!
- *sings* “Damn b**ch my feet hurt” – Your feet are probably hurting because you spent majority of the summer laying down and putting the biggest dent in your couch and now you have to transition to basically standing for 6 hours! I don’t know how to teach while sitting, and it is arguably best to stand and move around the classroom to ensure student engagement. When I see a teacher sitting I often wonder “How? How?!” Have no fear teacher, your body will adjust… or not. Just wait for the summer again.
- “I keep falling asleep in my work clothes on the couch”– Have you passed out everyday as soon as you got home? Said to yourself, “I’ll grade those papers after a nap” or “I’ll create this PowerPoint after I rest,” only to be completely unmotivated and fail to accomplish that goal? Yes. This is real and my advice, STOP WORKING AT HOME! If you can’t get it done at school, don’t hold yourself accountable to work off the clock in the comfort of your home unless you have strong will power! Get it done before leaving work, or if you must take it home, set a timer for yourself. Lesson planning never stops, find your groove before it overwhelms you. Take care of yourself, is no place sacred?!
- “These kids are all gremlins, and I’m not talking about the cute one” – Are the students just getting on your last nerve? Not listening, way too rowdy, not on grade level when it comes to academics and the skills needed for your class? If you are having issues after the first, or second week of school, RESET YOUR CLASSROOM! Listen, it’s the first weeks of school, there is no reason you should be stressed out about behavior or academics so soon! Dedicate some of your instructional time to a “Culture Lesson” for your class. Make it clear how the class will run, and list the steps for redirection and consequences. Have your principal, dean, counselor, whoever works directly with your grade level, get on board with your vision! If you can, make a grade level plan that all teachers will follow to perhaps keep continuity in all classrooms and leave little room for misinterpretation from students. Students are capable of following instructions, be clear, REASONABLE, firm and caring. If a student is not on level academically, MEET THAT CHILD WHERE THEY ARE. Hold tutorials, modify student work, pace the rigor, but most importantly commit yourself to that student and make them feel capable of learning!
- “I don’t think they like me” – First of all, TEACHING IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST. All of the students will not like you, but they will and must respect you in order to benefit from instruction. Be your AUTHENTIC SELF. Don’t try too hard to be cool, in the know, or younger than you are. Students can see right through your act! Be yourself and give them time to warm up to you! Don’t force a hug or a conversation that doesn’t come natural.
- “Soooo, do I get a lunch break?” – HELL NAW! You’re a teacher now, so that means ENDLESS SNACKS IN YOUR DESK and eating while walking/standing. For my returning teachers, you have probably found the loop-hole. Eat during your off period, or eat when the kids eat! Everyday is an adventure, you may or may not have time for lunch during standard lunch hours so eat a good breakfast and keep snacks in close proximity.
Good luck friends! Winter break is right around the corner! Hang in there and teach em’ up!
Happy Hour is your friend. Get to know her.