What's it Like to Be a First Year Teacher?
A colleague of mine is teaching a secondary social studies methods class at a local university this spring. He asked if I and another first year s.s. teacher would be willing to speak to his teacher candidates about what it’s like to be a first year teacher. Here’s what I know so far:
- Ask for help when you need it
- Do not isolate yourself in your classroom
- Get involved in your school! I coached 6th grade volleyball and ran the middle school dance and while it was overwhelming at times I am so happy I did it.
- Get to know your students as individuals - this makes ALL the difference
- You will make mistakes - learn from them and move on
- Do your best to involve parents and contact them with positive information about their students (not just concerns). Depending on the school you are at this might seem next to impossible and at times will be.
- Be responsive and communicate
- Sometimes a phone call is better than an email
- Don’t hide behind email as an excuse for not responding
- Create partnerships with your colleagues and borrow ideas and materials
- Don’t be a gossip
- Heed other people’s advice but listen to your instincts
- Make time for yourself and those you care about outside of school - there will always be more work but you need to be able to go home and relax
- Listen to your students
- Don’t make assumptions
- Smile and laugh a lot - kids are funny! Being serious all the time is boring.
- Be who you are! It’s easy to want to emulate another teacher (and of course you can always learn something) but if it’s not who you are it’s not going to work. I worked with a teacher a few years back who did the “tough love” thing REALLY well. When I tried to do it I came off as a huge asshole. For me, it’s better to be more nurturing and sympathetic. I work better with students one-on-one when trying to accomplish something major.
- Don’t yell, even if you feel like yelling (who likes that?)
- It’s okay to cry - just try give yourself some privacy
- Don’t forget about all the things you learned in your teacher ed program! Reread books and review ideas if necessary.
- Never quit learning
- Find an outlet… like Tumblr!
- Don’t vent to your significant other too much about your job - it’s not fair to them
- Don’t gossip - I’ll say it again because it’s so important. Teachers can be just like their students in this area and it’s damaging.
- Offer solutions when you’re frustrated with a situation, don’t simply complain
- Advocate for yourself and your students, chances are no one else will
- Apply for grants to get the materials you need to be a better teacher
- If you have curriculum you don’t love use it as a starting point to create something better
- Remember, the one doing the talking is doing the learning
- Have high expectations and hold students to them
- Be consistent!!!
- Don’t be so hard on yourself
- Have fun!
Students/Parents/Veteran teachers - what advice do you have to add to the list?
More tips mentioned by others and a few more of my own:
- Get to know the facilities and main office staff - they make a lot happen in your building, more than you probably realize!
- Make yourself valuable to your school
- Be flexible - know when to ditch your plans
- If your students are really interested or invested in a concept it’s okay to spend more time in this area. Pacing be damned!
- Make your classroom a safe place for students to share ideas and opinions
- Establish a positive classroom culture - positive reinforcement is powerful and effective
- Take that sick day/personal day
- Don’t simply teach the same lesson over and over - adapt it to different students and classes. This will take some time, years even.
- Focus on the positive
- Finally, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” T. Roosevelt
writing prompts for social studies / history
Ang magmemorize ng lahat ng bansa sa mundo kasama ang capital ay di madali.
Kdot. Y u haz many countries? Ang hirap pa bigkasin nung iba. </3
- I’m with my outline map, political map, yellow pad and ballpen right nao.
Di ko pa tapos ang lesson plan at visual aids ko para bukas sa Sunday school class ko. :/
SIGE, TUMITIG KA PA
Ewan ko kung magiging masaya ba ako sa nangyari kanina. Oo na hindi.
Hindi. Kasi para lang akong tanga/baliw sa room namin kanina, kasi nagreport na ako sa social studies at hindi ako prepared. AS IN SUPER! HAHAHA. Buti na lang hindi na pinatapos sa akin ng guro namin yung report ko. Ipagpatuloy ko na lang daw sa friday. *nakahinga na ng maluwag*
Oo. Habang nagrereport kasi ako e di palipat-lipat ang tingin ko, at nami-meet ko ang mga tingin niya, syempre kasi nakikinig siya. At nung sa kanya na lang ako tumitingin habang nage-explain ako e tinaas-tasan niya ako ng kilay, ng dalawang kilay habang nakatitig sa akin(hindi yung nagtataray ha! haha). Ayon, hindi ko napigilan ang sarili ko medyo natawa-tawa ako(yung tawa na may halong kilig.). Syempre yung mga friends ko gets nila, nakatingin sila sa akin na nakasmile. :”> KV!
Letter from Free Slave to Former Master
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
Protip: Facilitating debate in American government classrooms should not come at the expense of any potential lgbtq students you may have.
I have expressed the idea that, as a gay teenager, discussing gay marriage as a political issue led to comments that I now recognize as harmful. This did not go over well and as part of my recurring struggles with heterosexism I was reminded that homophobia isn’t the same as disagreeing with something. (This came from my favorite instructor and I declined to argue with her at the time.) If your disagreement with something makes you feel entitled to remove an entire group of people from certain rights on the basis of sexuality, I don’t care what you call it, but it’s wrong.
And I resent the notion that I have to remain “objective” and have a classroom where students are allowed to discuss this as being anything but wrong. I resent the idea that my gay students (and I will have gay students. Everyone will have gay students) will be forced to listen to their classmates discuss their rights as if they’re something that can be put up for a vote. I resent the notion that when discussing how to teach this topic, my voice as someone who was a teenager and had to endure institutionally sanctioned homophobia throughout my education is treated as potentially compromised or biased, instead of elevated for its insight.
What today meant for me as a history teacher
Wake up: 5am. Turn on the news.
Realize bin Laden has been killed (as you can guess from my wake up time, I was not up when the news was released last night).
Scrap my plans for the day and frantically read news articles/hunt down video clips until I have to be ready for homeroom at 6:55.
Watch the president’s speech for the first time with my 2nd period students (Youtube views at this point, around 8:20am: around 90,000).
My assistant principal stepped in for the discussion 6th period. His smartphone went off in the middle of it, with a news update announcing that bin Laden’s DNA had been confirmed.
Watch the president’s speech for the 5th time with my 8th period students (Youtube views at this point, around 1:20pm: around 730,000), and a lot more information has been released.
Answer lots and lots of questions.
Black History is taught with much to much emphasis on liberalism. History should be taught accurately, diluting and white washing it is a crime. Black History is hardly mentioned and this is usually always in February. Even than the only message given is Martin Luther Kings speech, his philosophies are minimized to preach equality while ignoring his treatment at the hands of America and Black peoples struggle in america.
Slavery is skimmed over, but their murderous forefathers are celebrated and their negligence and upholding of white supremacy is never mention. The Black Panther Party is reduced to the false title of a radical racist group that to often is wrongfully compared to the KKK. The KKK constantly was harassing and murdering black people while the Black Panther Party served as a defense unit against police brutality and their community programs are always ignored.
Teaching equality while ignoring the black man’s struggle in this country is an injustice to Black Kids who don’t receive a truthful and fruitful lesson on what our people went though in this country built on racism and terrorism
Social Studies Websites
A fellow Tumblr teacher requested websites related to the Soviet Union collapse.
Below are websites I’ve collected that I consider to be “gems”:
- Best of History Websites This website catalogs a variety of sites and provides brief summaries about each site
- Students’ Friend A smaller collection of databases and websites, but this site catalogs some of the better resources available
- EdTeck: Developer, Peter Pappas developed this site to aid teachers in guiding their students through using primary resources to steer their learning. This site provides a thorough collection of both student and teacher resources.
- AlternaTime: The librarian at my graduate school alma mater created this website that houses a variety of links to time lines that can be found on the web. Many different subjects and events are covered by the site.
- The United States Federal Archives: The Archives is a great resources for educators. Not only do they provide primary resources, they have a variety of activities, lesson plan ideas, and resources pertinent to each individual state.
- BBC News: I had a professor in college who used to say, “Everyone’s day would be better if they got their news from the BBC.” (Granted that isn’t one of his better and memorable quotes, but nevertheless, he egged me on to find another great site!).
- Fact Finder: The US Census Bureau created this site based on census data. This is a must for any statistically based data!
And a drum roll…..By far the BEST secondary social studies I have used: HistoryTeacher.net:
Susan M. Pojer, the website’s founder provides endless resources for AP European, US History, & NYS Regents’ global studies & US history. Her collection of primary resources (in my opinion) is arguably the most comprehensive around. I know I can credit my own success in high school on the APUSH exam to her study materials (and of course, great teachers!)
Notably, her APUSH Primary Resource page provides a comprehensive listing of sites to be used by teachers and students alike. (And don’t worry, ECE and elementary educators, much of the content is adaptable!)