Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

During my daily blog stalk read, I found a super cute linky party I wanted to join.  Miss Kindergarten has started 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching Party and I am on board!

So here goes:

1. Pee WHENEVER you get the chance!  The worst is realizing you have to pee just as recess ends and your next break is in 2 hours....YIKES!  Pretty sure teachers invented the peepee dance.

2. Invest in comfortable shoes.  If you are unlucky enough to work where you MUST wear dress shoes, understand you do not get extra points for high heels!  Buy some loafers and slip on flats.  I have been lucky enough to work where tennis shoes are the norm.  I have no problem spending extra on Nike or New Balance.

3. There are many discipline plans, find one that works for you.  My secret weapon is drawing them in early.  Everyone of my kids knows that I love them and will play and laugh and sing, but only if we follow my rules.  I always end up with "that" kid, but I usually have very little resistance because he/she never wants to disappoint me.

4. Do not be afraid to teach from the hip.  If you find yourself in the middle of a lesson that has gone horribly wrong...STOP!  Either switch to the next topic and come back around tomorrow, or just have a pow wow. Pull the kids together, sit on the floor or under a tree outside and just talk about what was good what was bad.

5. Take reflection notes on your lesson plans.  I hated doing this in college, but found it gave me the best input on teaching.  On my lessons I have a place where I have "what worked" and "what needs tweaking". Sometimes I write change nothing, sometimes I write, "Throw it all out!"  Most days I write the good parts and look back on what could be better.  This not only helps for next year, but it helps me plan better lessons next week.

6. Do NOT skip lunch.  I don't care what diet you are on or how much you need to get done.  You must refuel to keep up with your kids.  i have never seen a GREAT teacher sitting at her desk while the kids ran amok.

7. Collaborate!  If you are a first year teacher or a 30 year teacher, we all have something to share and something to learn. The best plans come from many people building on a single idea. Do not ever believe you have nothing to share and do not ever believe you cannot learn from your colleagues.  This past year I learned more from my student teacher than I have in a looooong time. I was supposed to be teaching her....whoops!  She says I taught her a bunch, but goodness, she was good!!!

8. Become best friends with the Janitor, Secretary and all other support staff.  Besides having all the hookups, these people are so under appreciated and are usually stinking amazing people!

9. Let your kids see you read.  I know that when you have a DEAR (drop everything and Read) or a SSR (silent sustained reading) or whatever you may call it, it seems easier to work at your desk and get some things done.  BUT, the kids are watching!!!  If they see you reading and getting excited about the books, they totally want to do the same. I also highly recommend having a novel to read aloud.  When I taught 1st it was Junie B Jones.  In 2nd, The BFG.  In 5th it was How to Train Your Dragon and Sisters Grimm. I learned that I like to start series with the kids and then they want to read the rest.

10. Laugh at yourself! Do not be afraid to say I don't know.  When it happens say, "I was wrong."  It is ok to be human. The kids respect you more for being honest rather than "right."  Its ok to goof up and let the students correct you.  If you must, play it off like you were testing them.  However, think of what it does for the self esteem of the kid who realizes you made a mistake.  It shows them its ok to make mistakes.  Creating a non-threatening, learning from our mistakes, teamwork classroom is just priceless!

Wow!  That was fats.  I still feel like there are so many more pearls of wisdom.  And when I started I was totally going to make this funny.  Well, I did not hit the mark this time.  I will aim for funny tomorrow :)

Thanks for this really awesome Linky party Miss Kindergarten!


  1. I really love your #9! That is so true! Great lessons learned! :)

  2. Great points! It's not always easy to take time to reflect on your lesson plans, but it is always helpful!


  3. Love the ideas I'm getting from your blog. I am your newest follower via Bloglovin'! Come stop by if you get a chance :)
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