As a fresh-out-of-college, first year teacher, I had a mind full of ideas and expectations and a heart full of passion. Now, beginning my second year, I have the same enthusiasm on top of a year’s worth of lessons learned. I know that there are still plenty of lessons to be learned, but there are a few things I would go back and tell myself before delving into year one. Here are 6 lessons I learned as a first year teacher that might be helpful to new teachers:
There is no such thing as “too organized.” In the classroom and in planning, it can get really difficult to stay on top of organization. Being an elementary activity teacher means that you see every student in the school throughout the week, which does not leave for much transitional time. As kindergarteners are leaving, sixth graders are walking in. I learned the hard way on multiple occasions that EVERYTHING—every instrument, dry erase marker, stack of student work, the box of tissues—must have a specific home in the classroom. Before I started teaching, I considered myself to be someone who kept a workspace tidy. If you think you are organized, get more organized. You will never regret it.It is easy to fall behind on lesson planning and prepping materials when life starts to get hectic. I like to take one hour on Friday afternoon to finish tying off the loose ends for the upcoming week. If I can’t get it done in that hour, I get to school early on Monday to finish up. The incentive of not waking up extra early on Monday morning is usually enough to keep me on task
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Katie Lynch is the music specialist at a small elementary school in western Arkansas, where she teaches K-6 general music and assists in dyslexia intervention. In her personal time, Katie loves to travel, crochet, and spend time with her dog, Ruby.
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