Sometimes as new teachers we are not as confident, and sometimes make the mistake of acting that way or saying it. Or is that just me?? I cringe every time I think of a meeting I had with a little boy's parents my first year...he wouldn't sit still or focus, and I think maybe he told them that he was bored or didn't like school or something to that affect. So, after talking for a few minutes, and with my confidence waning, I actually said, "Maybe it's me! Maybe I'm not doing a good enough job to keep him focused." (*Gasp* What did I just say??) Now, I'm not saying that it wasn't me, it very well could have been, but don't let them think that! How are they going to have confidence in me then? Remember as teachers we have spent countless hours student teaching, observing, learning and preparing to be in our classrooms. You may not know everything and may not be great at executing everything that first year, but you know what you are doing. If you believe that this is your calling and you were meant to be in that classroom, then be confident, not obnoxious, just confident. Don't allow parents to make you feel down because of mistakes and issues that may occur, remind them that we are all working together for the same common goal...to help children learn.
This may seem like a funny one, but what I mean by "Do you", is be yourself! I guess I could have just put that, but I really like Do you better! :) That was something I struggled with especially during student teaching, trying to be like others and not feeling like I could keep up with them and their creativity. When I got in my own classroom, though, I just became comfortable in my own skin. I may not have been as creative or as great at some things as others, but just doing my best to teach the way I was comfortable, and being myself allowed me to really enjoy that first year in my classroom! Some creativity and fun ideas came later, but in my own way and my own time. Even now I struggle with wanting to be like other bloggers, they are so funny, they are popular, they have such great ideas, they have so many cute, amazing items for their teacher's stores! But then I have to remember we are all different. That's why there can be so many blogs and we can get so much from each of them. I just have to be me, and do the best I can. Maybe I will get better at some of those things and maybe I won't, but I gotta be me! Get ideas, use them...get advice, use it...get help, follow it, but adapt it to your style and what you are comfortable with..."Do you!"
I wish I would have had this book my first year, but some of it I had already incorporated into my classroom. He is an amazing teacher with so many great thoughts and ideas and ways to keep students always performing at their best. I try to read it at the beginning of each school year.
Giving them numbers that correspond to their last names alphabetically helps make it easier to collect papers...they just come up in number order. It makes it easier to keep track of students, especially during fire drills, just call out numbers quickly. It also helps to keep those numbers on popsicle sticks or some other type of manipulative, this way you can keep track of students you have already called on, or which ones have already read, or which ones have been at which centers, etc.
Some students may say or think that they are not able to fulfill the expectations that you have set for them. They may convince their parents of this, too. But when we set our expectations high, and challenge them to meet those expectations and encourage them along the way, you'll be surprised (and so will they...and their parents) at what they can really do. I have had to express that to parents before..."I know they can meet my expectations, when I challenge them and encourage them in the classroom they do what I expect, they can do it." I don't allow the word can't in my classroom. They are only allowed to say, "I'm having trouble." :) And you can make rules like that fun. I make a big deal if I hear the forbidden word...*gasp*, "Now tell me 10 things you can do!"
And then because this post is long enough, I didn't put the last one on the cute design, but I do think this one is very important! Love on them! Sometimes that may be the only time they get loved on. Plus, discipline seems to come across much easier if you have already established that you love them. They realize the discipline is because of that love and your desire to see them be the best they can be. This also helps them to work hard for you, because they want to please the ones they love. Sorry this is so long, but I hope it will be an encouragement and help! We have the most wonderful job ever!!!