Aha… I thought that might catch your attention.
Hi, all — I’ve started to compile a list of helpful hints for new (or veteran) teachers. Please help me add to my list. This could be very helpful for many of us, as well as the rookies entering our profession. I’m starting all of us off with my fave dozen … and trusting you all to add to this important list. Thanks! Sheila
1. Introduce yourself to the building principal, assistant principal, counselor, and nurse at the first opportunity in the new school year. Find out the names of the building secretaries, custodians, and food-service workers. They will be counted among your best friends.
2. Carry a small notebook, dayplanner, or PDA in your pocket to write down names, phone numbers/extensions, room numbers, mileage, deadlines, projects, etc., as you explore your new schools or different buildings. Get the names and email addresses of the teachers and guidance counselors for each of your students. If you use a notebook, tape a business card onto it… you will eventually leave it someplace and have to backtrack to look for it.
3. Stay out of the toxic teacher room.
4. Take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of you, then you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Keep a sense of humor on the front burner. Sometimes, humor is the only thing that gets us through the day. Eat lunch. Drink water. Correlate both of those activities with your prep times so you can get to the restroom.
5. Keep a journal of your successes. On the days when it seems that nothing is going right, reread it for validation that yes, you ARE doing your best for your students, and that — yes — they are achieving as a result of your efforts.
6. Avoid saying, “In my other school, we did….”
7. Collect building floor plans for all of your school buildings. Collect fire drill and emergency drill procedures for each building, too (if different from each other). Get a calendar for each school and go through it with a yellow highlighter to mark the activities that involve you or your students. Put your name and phone number on the emergency notification network or snow chain at each of your schools. Know how to find out if your school will be closed for inclement weather. If you are an itinerant teacher, ask for a mailbox in each of your buildings.
8. Know your legal responsibilities in terms of special education paperwork and practice. Be prompt, professional, and accurate when completing and submitting these legal documents.
9. Create networks and work to maintain them, be they with teachers, physicians and their staff, community resources, or parents. These relationships all pay off for the children you serve over time. Get some colorful stationery and hand-write brief notes to colleagues complimenting them on their efforts on behalf of your students. Have your students write thank you notes or notes of appreciation, too. Join the Sunshine Club or whatever group celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of your colleagues.
10. Ask for help when you need it from a veteran teacher in your school.
11. Carry with you in your car –- or keep in your classroom — electrical tape, a set of miniature screwdrivers, a Leatherman (or something similar), a full size 5-in-one screwdriver, an extra USB cable, an extra phone cable, and a variety of common batteries. Keep a full change of clothes in your car –- all the way down to socks and underwear.
12. Maintain a positive, can-do attitude. It’s all in the attitude!