Get to know the parents of the children in your class
- Make initial contact with parents/caregivers. Using a welcoming newsletter or email is a great way to start off.
- When parents voice concerns, show that you value their opinions and when you say that you are going to do something - do it.
- Make contact for positive reasons. Often teachers fall into the trap of only contacting parents for negative reasons (poor behaviour etc.) and you really need to make an effort to contact them for good reasons (send a note home to say how great it was that their child participated in a class discussion or did some great numeracy work).
- Keep parents in the loop with what is going on in your classroom. Consider a monthly calendar or newsletter in paper, email or blog format.
- Invite parents into your class to help with special projects, class open days etc.
- Understand that all parents are not going to love you. It's not a huge deal and you shouldn't take it personally.
I remember my first year of teaching clearly. One of the things that drove me nuts was the acronyms for everything! IEP, AFL, etc. I knew what some of them meant but a lot went over my head. I was so afraid of looking stupid I would write them down and then google them when I got back to my classroom. It would have same me a lot of time to just ask. Please are always happy to help (plus sometimes they don't know either so you can figure it out together instead of alone.)
Have high expecations for your students
Students will achieve more if you expect more of them. It's just that simple.
Complaining about things does not help to get them done. Complaining makes you look like a negative person, and complaining about someone else makes you look petty (plus you neve know who is related to who, the person you are talking to might be the sister or cousin of the person you are complaining about.) If you think you are a complainer - I suggest reading 'A Complaint Free World" by Will Bowen. It is an amazing book about how complaining brings you down and how you can kick the habit.
Become friends with important people
Befriend the school administrative assistant, the custodian and the IT tech. I find cookies work really well. These people will help you so much over the school year, you want them on your team!
Keep a record of everything
Great record keeping makes life as a teacher run nice and smooth. Arriving to a parent meeting or getting busy writing reports is much easier when you have an organized record to look back on.
- Photocopy important tests before handing them back to students.
- Keep a record of lost work. Have students sign to acknowledge that the work is missing and why.
- Consider sendning a mid-term achievement report so that parents aren't surprised at report card time
- Keep a behaviour log book. Jot down any behaviour issues so you can look back on them when needed to track and monitor issues.
Don't try to reinvent the wheel
Looking for an amazing resource to go with next weeks science lesson? Chances are, someone has created one. Find yourself a couple of great website (like this one!) to use and share stuff with other teachers - this will save you tons of time and make life easier.
I hope these tips help in your first few weeks of teaching and over this exciting year.
If you are an experienced teacher - what advice would you give to new teachers?
By Julieanne Steedman, Early Learning Coordinator