As teachers we have two feelings at the beginning of the school year: excitement for new materials, new students, probably new projects and also, the feeling of being overwhelmed with all the things we have to do and the shortness of time to do them.
We all have these doubts:
1. What do I need to be successful in these first weeks?
2. How can I be an effective teacher?
3. How can I be a happy teacher the whole year?
We will need weeks to talk about these questions, but thinking about years ago, when I first started, these steps helped me to be a better teacher each year.
If you are a new teacher, and you are feeling overwhelmed, these tips are for you:
1. Find a mentor: Get someone with experience that could help you through the process. Teaching is a beautiful career but also very demanding.
2. Observe colleagues: Take the time to see different ways of teaching. We are our own resource of learning.
3. Be humble and accept an advice: Sometimes we feel pressure because we want to do things in our own way. Listening other points of view may enrich your own learning path.
4. One day at a time: Probably you feel you are not doing enough, trust me it will get better and you will handle everything sooner than you think. (Remember to follow the steps before)
5. Show that you care: Especially to your students. They recognize your hard work and dedication. Show real interest and you will have your students respect.
6. Enjoy the ride: Be open to surprises, be flexible and enjoy your students challenges. Put in your mind that you are going to learn to.
Now you have your classroom, probably a disaster what should you do?
1. Make an inventory: Make a list of everything you have from furniture to books…everything. Sometimes, schools storage other classrooms stuff in rooms that doesn’t belong there. Show it to your superiors and make sure if you have everything they want you to have. Remember you are responsible for the school’s property.
2. Organize the list: Now that you know everything you have in your class start classifying. Your list should look like this. (example)
Word wall words
Centers (if you have enough space)
3. Draw your classroom plan: Put everything where you feel more comfortable that it should go. Remember to put all the students materials where they can get it by themselves. Our mission is to create independence on their daily work. They should know where to get what they need, and where is the teacher area.
4. Make changes: Take a break, sit down and observe your map. Do you feel comfortable having your classroom like this? Does the student’s have enough space? It’s safe to have this here? Where are you going to meet with your students in the conference time? All the materials handy to the students? This is the moment to check this map and make all the arrangements you want to.
5. Invite other teachers to see your classroom plan: Four eyes are better than two. Get a second opinion and let’s see how your partner can help you.
I think with these steps you can have a pretty good looking classroom, forget about decorations. Having a comfortable learning space, it is more meaningful than decoration. Decorate with your students work, show your kids posters, drawings, quotes etc.. They will feel very important and happy.
Please comment what you will like to know as a teacher, that way we can coordinate better articles to help each other in the learning path.
Editing: Natalia Aybar
Web support: Christian Castillo