This past week my wife, Heather, was sent an email from an education major, getting ready to do her practice teaching stint. The three questions were…
1. What advice do you have for new teachers?
2. How can I succeed in this profession?
3. What did you not know that you wish you knew when you got here?
As Heather typed her response, she asked me some of my thoughts… Well, for those of you who know me, that can result in positive corruption on many different levels. As you read, here are our combined thoughts…
1. Form a relationship with a seasoned teacher who can mentor you and support you during your first years. Be prepared for tough days, but great teachers are strong people who do not give up. Keep striving and apply what you have learned from your teaching experience and your college academic program. Be proud of being a teacher. Teaching is a God-given gift. Our society depends on dedicated and devoted teachers. You need to have a strong desire for student success and make a positive difference in your school building. You cannot be friends with your students. Earning your student’s respect is necessary. Finding ways to relate to your students creates an inviting environment in your classroom. Being consistent in everything you do is important, especially when you have discipline. Remember, you are the adult in the classroom.
2. Always plan ahead and use your time wisely to prepare your lessons. Understand that true teacher success is growing students academically, socially, and emotionally. Teaching students responsibility, treating others, self-discipline, and accomplishing positive goals are life skills needed for their future. You must take care of yourself. Avoid becoming content. Stay an idealist teacher. Good teachers are lifelong learners. Even though teachers have holidays and a summer break, the teaching profession is hard work (preparing and teaching lessons, managing your classroom, grading work, dealing with difficult students, communicating with parents, teacher “duties,” which have lots of descriptions, are just a few of a teacher’s daily responsibilities). You must take care of yourself and find time for other activities besides school. Try to leave school at school. At some point, you will be a spouse and a parent; never apologize for putting family first. To continue in this profession, you must take care of your mental, spiritual, and physical health. Also, you do not want to be an island. You need to talk to other teacher friends to learn from each other and support each other. Your relationship with your principal is also necessary for future success. Hopefully, you will work in a school where your principal supports you. You definitely need their support when challenges come concerning students and parents.
3. When standing in the hallway between class changes, talk to students and find ways to communicate with them, even those who are not your students. Develop hallway cred. Stay organized and always be prepared for the day. Stay positive and look for ways to get your students involved in your lessons. Allow them to have some ownership in your class. If you can, add some humor to your teaching style. Find ways to brag on your students and encourage them in front of their peers. Know your students’ names and greet them when they arrive at your class. Remember to work smarter, not harder. This will help to prevent getting burned out. Learn patience.
As Heather read the above response, I started thinking… shouldn’t veteran teachers want and do the same thing? How many times, as educators, do we make school “hard” when we know what needs to be done? As I read the above answers, I created a mental checklist in my head to make sure that I was doing these things. How about you? Go be the teacher you want to be…
Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…
Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…
©2022 J Clay Norton
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Tom williams said:
Be prepared, enthusiastic, and student centered. Heather’s advise is excellent. Thanks for your good weekly posts.
The Book Chamber said:
Thanks Dr. Williams. Hope you are doing well.