advice for the first-year teacher

11 June 2015
i only have one year under my belt, and i know it's not impressive. there are people out there who've been teaching for longer than i've been alive, and i should really be tracking them down and getting their input. but, alas. here i am, offering my measly two cents to anyone about to embark in teaching. (more about how i became a spanish teacher here!)


//1//
be consistent. each student is different, and certain circumstances require different consequences in order for them to be meaningful consequences, but for the most part, be consistent in how you enforce things. for example, when someone barges in late for the 5th time that week (my pet peeve, because my classroom's door is so inconveniently located) and disrupts the whole class, i need to apply the same consequence to the student who is always on time. although this doesn't apply to every situation, for the most part, that's where control can be lost!

//2//
create classroom/weekly routines. this is something i wish i did more of! i should have made "música miércoles" a thing, so i could play a new song in spanish. (music wednesday just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

//3//
keep parents in the loop. this makes parent-teacher conversations go much more smoothly, when you have kept in touch over the course of a marking period! a student struggling to make progress won't slip between the cracks, and low marks won't surprise a parent/guardian when the end of the marking period comes!

//4//
go to the extracurriculars! i sadly never made it to a basketball game, but i did chaperone prom and lead my homeroom on a school-wide organized scavenger hunt. support student endeavors and their bake sales!

//5//
keep working to improve things. my AP spanish teacher in high school has graciously met with me a few times this past year to help me get some curricular things hammered out, and one thing she does it constantly assess whether something is effective. was that the best way to teach vocabulary? should i have included more speaking activities using these verbs? how can i make the listening activities more interactive? she said you want to hit your stride and really perfect a workable curriculum/lesson plans so that when you start to grow your family, you can focus on the family and not on creating lessons each night!

//6//
and, same as when i reflected on my first month of teaching: keep asking for others' input. use the progressive, cutting-edge methods you learned in college, but ask around. does someone have a better attendance policy that would cut down on latenesses to class? can you borrow and adapt a rubric from another teacher for a similar project? don't re-invent the wheel!

what lessons have you learned in your current job? 

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