I’m a new teacher and I can’t believe how ragged I feel—I seem to be just barely ahead of the class. I have lessons that are not going to plan and I feel like I’m just running around non-stop. Please help! —W., Virginia
This is probably no surprise to anyone in the first months of teaching: this job is tough! You may often feel you have two types of lessons—those that bomb, and those that bomb BIG!
Here are some survival tips:
- Colleagues: They have done it before; they know the school; they know the students. Develop good relationships and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk about procedures and protocols that “everyone knows” but aren’t written down. Talk to your colleagues about grading and the time you can expect to spend on it and other tasks.
- Calendar/Daybook: Use it faithfully. Don’t be surprised by deadlines and meetings.
- Transitions: Moving from one activity to another in class is where breakdowns can occur. Take time to plan how you will distribute materials. Plan your student groups.
- Clean up: Don’t do all the clean-up yourself! Leave time and enlist your students’ help. Don’t let them leave until the room is ready for the next class. (Stand at the door and point, “That beaker is not where it should be;” “Those paper towels need to be in the garbage.”)
- Venting: Talk to someone when you have a bad day. Find a confidant and have a rant, and then don’t dwell on it.
Hope this helps!