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Teacher Feature...
What I Wish I Knew My First Year...
by Mae/TX

What I Wish I Knew My First Year...

  • I wish I new about Harry Wong's book, "The First Day of School."
  • I wish I knew that 5th graders don't know how to walk in line.
  • I wish I knew about ADHD children.
  • I wish I knew that while an experienced teacher may be able to give ownership of the classroom to the students on day 1 - a first year teacher needs to set rules and a simple discipline system from the beginning.
  • I wish I knew about the importance of reading aloud daily.
  • I wish I knew to keep my enthusiam inside the classroom. (Get a feel for your new teammates. Some teachers have no patience for new teachers. Ask questions, but be careful about who you share your fresh ideas with. Not everyone appreciates new teacher enthusiasm. It's shameful, but true.)
  • I wish I knew to call parents the first week praising their child and offering available times for conferences and phone calls.
  • I wish I had the chance to read through all of the curriculum. (I was hired one week before school started.)
  • I wish I knew about reading levels and how important it is for students to read silently on their independent reading levels.
  • I wish I knew how to handle the "tough" kids. (Read Love and Logic by Fay and Funk)
  • I wish I knew to not assign textbook / workbook pages- most of them are too long and too hard.
  • I wish I knew to teach objectives in little bites, taking students through the process, and then assessing in small bites as well.
  • I wish I knew how important building self esteem and classroom community is.
  • I wish I knew to MODEL, MODEL, MODEL EVERYTHING!!!
  • I wish I knew to always show students examples of what I expect a finished product to look like.
  • I wish I knew to bite my tongue.
  • I wish I knew to go home and leave the work at school (time management).
  • I wish I knew not to give my home phone # to parents. (Teachers have a life too!)
  • I wish I knew to have high expectations for ALL children.
  • I wish I knew to NOT MISS A KID!
  • I wish I knew that enthusiasm and a positive attitude DOES make a difference!
  • I wish I knew what I know now. But, I didn't. That's okay. I know now and I continue to learn everyday. Remember, learning is a never ending cycle. Never stop. Always be open to new ideas. Don't throw out what you know works, refine it. Toss out what doesn't work though. Make room for new adventures and stay open minded. READ professional books (and personal growth books), stay in touch with teachers who desire MORE (who work to make a differnence), be a part of professional organizations, go to workshops and seminars always thirsting for more. God be with you!

    - Mae in Texas (5 years and counting...)