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5 Tips for Surviving Your First Year as a Teacher


I loved my first year as a teacher. I had a great class with super supportive families, and 12 years later, I still keep in touch with several of my former students and their parents. That first year is filled with emotions: excitement, enthusiasm, exhaustion, confusion, fear, stress... Today I want to share my top 5 tips for surviving in your new chosen career. Chances are, this is your first professional job, and you do not want to mess this up!
Calling all beginning teachers! This blog post has 5 tips for making your first year as a teacher a successful one!

1. Find Your Tribe 

I was lucky to find my People right away at my first teaching job. I didn't have to go far... my teacher friends consisted of my team and a few first grade teachers across the hall. We were all first, second, or third-year teachers, so we had a lot in common.

But what happens when you don't click with your team? Unfortunately, it does happen some times.

Take a Break: A Place for Students to Self Regulate

Self regulation is one's ability to manage his/her emotions and the behaviors that accompany these emotions. These emotions can be perceived as both positive or negative, and many times our students don't know what an appropriate response is for various emotions. Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter: Antarctica.

Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out!

#seewhatididthere?
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Every classroom in my school has a Take a Break spot. It's a space in the classroom where students can go when they need some time and space to be alone and self regulate their emotions. I just happened to name mine "Antarctica." My students can choose to put themselves in Antarctica, or sometimes I ask them to go when I feel they need a break.

Making the Best of Timed Math Fact Tests

Who here gives timed math fact tests?

I remember doing them when I was in school. I was pretty good at them, but my anxiety and nervousness was through. the. ROOF. every single Friday afternoon.

Knowing that timed tests are so stressful for our students, why do we continue to do them? Well, some of us are required to... However, when you look at the CCSS for second grade, students are supposed to "know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers" by the end of second grade. And the wording is the same for third grade and multiplication facts.

We know that automaticity of math facts is crucial for when students move on to higher level math. My students practice their math facts every day in a variety of ways, including math games and using the Xtra Math website, but when it comes time to assess, the only option I can think of to assess automaticity is using a timed situation, which seems so old school. GROAN...

So how can I make these painful assessments less painful?

Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.

Classroom Bulletin Boards Made EASY!

I have 5 GIGANTIC bulletin boards in my classroom. FIVE. Two of my walls have end-to-end bulletin boards. While I know that bulletin board space for some of you is a hot commodity, for me, it is almost a burden trying to fill them up.

There are SO many amazing bulletin board ideas on Pinterest, but honestly... not only do I not have the creative juices to plan for that, but I just don't have the time or the desire. We know the importance of anchor charts and how bulletin boards should serve a purpose and not just focus on the "cute factor," so how can we use this prime real estate in our classroom to showcase meaningful content?
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!  Options

5 Things All Teachers Should Do Before Going Home

One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. And that feeling is even worse when you're hectically running around before school starts, trying to get everything ready for the day. So a few years ago, I made myself a list on a sticky note of things to do before I leave for the day and stuck it on my computer screen. It really helped to focus my efforts after school was over (so that I don't waste 15 minutes catching up on Facebook...), as well as helped me be better prepared for the next day.
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.
Here are five things I do every night before I leave school:
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