To all the brand-new teachers about to start this school year – WELCOME!! You have chosen an amazing and rewarding path for your life. This year, you will face many challenges and growth moments, so here are a few tips to help you get off to a strong start.
First Five  Tips
1. Preparation: Preparation easily overcomes talent and experience. You need to create plans based upon what you know about your students. Yes, you will see that some learning moments happen unintentionally; however, this should not be the norm. As you create Plan A, think through where you can pivot if things are not going as planned. By creating Plan B, you are infusing the lesson/unit with intentional flexibility. It is that plan that creates the space where the unexpected “aha moments” occur.
2. Relationships: This one-word drives everything in your classroom – instruction, learning, culture, flow, management, interactions, etc. You must invest time up-front to learn about your students individually and work intentionally to maintain those relationships. As you get to know them, pick up on their individual likes or dislikes, preferred method of learning, cultural backgrounds, school experiences, and special interests. This kind of information will also be valuable in creating learning groups.
3. Positive 1st Contact: This strategy is important for families because many did not have good school experiences, and you have an opportunity to bring change. By contact, do not rely just upon email or letters home but leverage phone calls. For example, if a student has exhibited some inappropriate behaviors requiring a parent phone call and you have not yet spoken to them, delay that call until you can call to share something positive the student did. That first, positive contact smooths over the next one focused on behavior. You may not be able to use this strategy but do so when possible.
4. Disagreement v Disrespect: Understand that students disagreeing with you is not automatically disrespect. You want students to think critically and figure out additional ways to answer an open-ended question. You must, however, draw the line when a student becomes disrespectful to anyone. If you permit disrespect today, then it becomes normal tomorrow.
5. Uphill Climb: Just know that this year will include many struggles and that is part of the growth process. Not every lesson or unit plan will go smoothly but that does not mean the plan was bad. Good relationships will go through tough spells, and you just need to keep working on them. The key for you is this – never give up! Reflect on what may have happened and see how you can leverage that learning for the future.
Later this week, we will wrap up the last five AND you will get a downloadable resource.