My first year of high school teaching was at a small private school. At the end of that first year, my wife and I decided that it was time for her to start graduate school. As a result, I left my teaching post after only one year. I returned to teaching three years later, but I always look back and remember the end of that first year.
It was painful.
Every job has restart moments. Every role we play in life gives us chances to improve. At the end of one year of teaching, I had so many thoughts of how I could improve as a teacher, how I could better connect with students, and how I could make classroom more time more effective.
I am now entering my fourth consecutive year of teaching, and I could not be more excited. This year brings some of the biggest opportunities (and challenges) I have faced in my career. In reality, I have a mixture of notebook pages and post-its with all of my ideas for the new year, but I can trim those down to three major points:
1. Use class time more effectively
I feel like I am an expert at talking about classroom management techniques, but implementing them is another issue. I write beautiful lesson plans that tie everything together, but then I am unable to find all of the pieces on each individual day.
This year I will…
- Start classes quickly and minimize beginning of class distractions with well taught procedures.
- Be more firm in addressing classroom disruptions as they happen.
- Stay engaged with my students. Don’t relax when just because they are self motivated.
- Use exit tickets regularly, have students self rate themselves, and share the class results.
2. Work with parents consistently
Like many new teachers, I have phone phobia. I’m not sure why. Parent phone calls almost always go great. Instead of even trying though, I wait until all I have to offer is bad new about their child. That must change this year.
3. Be a leader
Part of this has been decided for me. I have been appointed algebra 2 team leader, which is really exciting, but I have never taught algebra 2 at this school, and many of the teachers on the team have more experience than me. Right now, I am trying to figure out what my strengths are and how I can use them to facilitate productive team planning for this year.
That is pare of the reason I have started this blog, and I am trying to be more active on Twitter. I have always lurked behind the scenes. I have been reading many of your blogs and twitter feeds for years without leaving a comment or joining in any discussions. I have been given amazing ideas, and while I always give credit, I have never been able to move my peers to joining these amazing online communities. My hope is that by encouraging my team to read my own blog, I can introduce them to the unlimited research and resources that are available to them.
I am thankful for the new blogged initiative, and I am looking forward to many more exciting posts in the future.