As I finish my first year of teaching I can not believe how much I have learned and how much I changed throughout the last nine months. When I started my job I felt anxious, excited, and proud to have gotten a job right out of college. I was teaching in a public school district and at my ideal grade level and my classroom environment came together quickly. My room was never Pinterest-worthy, my lessons weren’t always the cutest, and my behavior management was not always on-point. But, I did learn more about myself and teaching in this first year than I learned in all of my college career!
As I wrap up my first year of teaching I am filled with different emotions. At the end of the school year, I will be leaving my current district and moving to another that is very different from where I spent my first year. I am also changing grade levels from third grade all the way down to kindergarten! Even though my second year of teaching will be WAY different from my first, I am excited to take some of the things I learned this year and apply them in my new school. Here are some of the things I took away from my first year of teaching….
Set Clear Expectations
My first few weeks of school were a mess looking back! I hadn’t decided what kind of teacher I wanted to be yet and my behavior management suffered. I had a class set of rules but I was inconsistent with how I enforced them. Some days I was the nice fun teacher while other days I had to get strict because the kids were driving me crazy!
Looking back I wish I would have started off the year more strict. I wish I would have been clear in my expectations and not let up until the kids knew exactly what to do.
In the beginning of the year, I was glued to my lesson plan book. I was fortunate to have an administrator that didn’t collect lesson plans but I always had my daily plans set to the minute. I would have a perfect idea of what I wanted to do that day but I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing the next week. My goal for next year is to start planning for the “big picture” so I can end the year feeling like I met every goal I wanted to meet.
Asking for Help
In the beginning of the year, I was afraid to ask others for help or for advice. I didn’t want my peers to think I was unqualified and I didn’t want to be a burden to them either. As the year went on I learned that it is more than okay to ask for help…it is encouraged! Relying on my peers helped me become a better teacher and I found I was even able to help them too. By collaborating with the staff members I was able to become a more confident and experienced teacher.