Sunday, August 30, 2015

Five Tips for New (and Not so New) Teachers

Hey y'all! How is the beginning of your school year going? Whether you've been back with kiddos for weeks or your year is about to start, I'm sure you can relate to this:

Doesn't she seem too perky to be tired?
 Can you feel me?

One thing that makes this particular beginning of the year so exhausting is I'm new to my district and everything (I mean every. single. thing.) is different than my last school. It doesn't matter of it's your first year teaching or if you're new to your district or school, being the new kid on the block can be stressful. Unless, of course, you're Joey McIntyre or Donnie Wahlberg. Since none of us are members of NKOTB, I thought Id share my five tips to help you transition to your new environment.

Tip 1: Get to Know the Who's Who of Your School

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
You've probably heard this before, but there is a select group of men and women in your school that you need to get to know:

1. Custodians - Think about it: They clean up after you and your students. They readjust the legs of your desks and chairs so you don't go into OCD meltdown when you look at your classroom. They deliver your heavy packages from the front office. These wonderful people make your life easier in one way or another every single day. Be kind to them. Remember them on holidays and staff appreciation days. Thank them for working hard. They don't have an easy job. (Would you want to be the person to clean up after the dreaded stomach flu breaks out in your classroom?)

2. Secretaries and the Front Office Staff - These knowledgeable people know the ins and outs of your school and should be treated with the utmost respect and reverence. As a not-so-new new teacher, I can't tell you how many times a day I have to ask them for something, whether it be where forms are located, how to schedule an absence, or where the copy paper (equivalent to gold in my school) is located. Without their help, I probably wouldn't have survived my first week. Be nice to them. They know where the bodies are buried!

3. School Nurse - Forge a relationship with the person in your clinic. Not only will you be sending your students there when they need help, I guarantee you will probably visit it at least once yourself during your career. The school nurse at my former school was nice enough to dig through my hair when we had a lice breakout, and I completely freaked with paranoia. She probably would have given me a major case of side-eye if it was the first time I ever had a conversation with her.

Tip 2: Be Friendly

Be friendly. (just not too friendly)

Like any job, there are going to be people that annoy you or that you just don't see yourself having a relationship with outside of school. That's okay. Still, be friendly to everyone. You never know who will have the position above yours in five years.

Tip 3: Make Friends

Come sit by me!

I know you're probably thinking to yourself, "Didn't this chick already tell me to be friendly?" Yes, you should be friendly to everyone but also make friends with the people who will build you up and make you a better teacher/version of yourself. Some of the closest friends I have are my former coworkers. They've laughed and cried with me. Even though we are no longer in the same school, I know I can call or text them any time I need them and they'll be there.

Tip 4: Fake It 'Til You Make It

Faking it like a boss.

I love this saying! There is no way to know what is going to happen every second of the day. When in doubt, act positive and confident. Eventually, you'll start to feel more positive and confident. These are words to live by, but...

Tip 5: Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

This is what I look like when I write lesson plans.

If you're anything like me, you want to keep up appearances that you know what is going on, what to do, and how to do it. Your principal/district/hiring team hired you for a reason, and you don't want them to think they made a bad decision. Still, one of the best things you can do is to admit when you need help. We teach our students that they shouldn't be embarrassed to come to us when they need help. Shouldn't we practice what we preach?

I hope these tips help you as you maneuver through the beginning of your school year. Good luck, my friends!


  1. Amen! I'm right there with ya in a new environment this year. Going from being the person that"knew ou it all" to nothing is hard. I agree with your list. Good job. helps too!

    1. Wine is definitely my friend! Good luck at GSU. I know you will be amazing (as always)!