Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five Things I Wish I Had Learned While Student Teaching

1. How to call a parent about positive things or negative things. Its awkward and not fun (unless its good stuff) but it sometimes has to be done. I like to do a compliment sandwich. ( I learned this in art critiques, but it works with parent phone calls as well.) A good thing, the thing your actually calling about and a good thing. Example " Hi Ms. Smith, My name is Lauren Cornwell, I am Matthew's art teacher. He is really talented and I love seeing what he creates. But lately he has been off task." After talking with the parents for a bit before you go, leave on a positive note. Example: " I am so glad you care so much about your son's success at school."

2. Get there early. I worked waited tables at night while I was student teaching and got to school right when I had to be there. But now I see that my day goes smoother when I arrive early.

3. Network. My first year I was a lone island. I didn't network with other teachers. Besides Pinterest, I was coming up with all the ideas on my own. Now I know, ask senior teachers for ideas, follow artists and teachers on Instagram, Bloglovin and Pinterest. Don't be afraid to reach out. People want to collaborate and your lessons will be better for it. These are some of the people that I follow to gain some knowledge.

Cassie Stephens
Art With Mr. E
Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists

4. Organization. This is something I am still learning. If I could do student teaching all over again I would pour over lesson planning books, Google docs, any file cabinets that my mentor teachers had created to make their classroom more organized, and it would be much smoother sailing. Find a system that works for you. There are tons of resources on Pinterest, and the web, a lot of Teachers Pay Teachers have free planning templates (like my husbands here).

5. Some unexpected things are going to happen and your going to have to improvise. I wish I could list all the crazy things that have happened my first two years of teaching, it would be a long one. But your going to have to think on your feet quite often. When I first got my job at the school I am at now my principal said in a meeting. " Make sure whatever you are doing is for the kids, and I will have no problem defending you." If you make sure, that whatever you do is in the best interest of the kids, you will be a fantastic teacher.

What are some things you wished you would have learned starting out teaching? What are some tips that you have for beginning teachers?

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