Monday, August 11, 2014

My Back To School Advice For New and Veteran Teachers #NTChat #EdChat

It is that time of year again and it is crazy to think that some educators are already back to school and some are very close. There is always a bit of craziness that takes over as teachers get ready for the start of the school year. During this time of preparation, some very important things can be forgotten. I want to take a few moments and remind everyone in the education world to do a few things this school year that will make the school year a little bit better.


This is a big one for me and one of the most often forgotten parts of teaching during the school year. It easily forgotten because it takes up time and educators are constantly under a time crunch. Time needs to be carved out each day or every other day to reflect on what has happened in the classroom and with the lessons created. The only way to truly grow in the profession is to honestly reflect on what happens each day. Don't just point out the things that do not work, look for the things that were awesome. Keep these reflections written down somewhere. They can be in a single Google Doc that is for personal use or it could be on a blog for the world to see. If writing is not a great medium, try a video blog and save all of the reflections in a private YouTube channel. Reflections allow all educators to take the time to truly review their work and make the changes necessary to be better.

Me Time:

Always budget for "Me Time". All educators are busy with their job, extracurriculars, family, and many other commitments, but there needs to be time set aside just for you. This time could be an hour or two over the weekend, 30 minutes alone with your coffee before school starts, or 90 minutes gaming at the end of the night. No matter what it is, this time is important for any person in a high stress job because it allows them clear their head. This time will make a better educator in the long run and a better person when hanging out with friends and family.


Sometimes, the first few days of the school year are so busy, we forget to listen to our students. We hear them, but sometimes we are not listening. The first few days are crucial for the teacher/student relationship. These students need to decide if they are are going to trust their teacher for the whole year. They need to know if you are the person they can go to if they are stressed. If the students see a crazed person that is just going through the motions playing catch up, they will not be invested in the class or their teacher. Slow down and give the student the most important thing a teacher can give most kids, your time. One of my favorite practices is something I call "The First Five". The first five minutes of every class (give or take a minute here and there) is where I go around the room and engage students in conversation about all things not class related. I get to know them and their lives and just listen to them go on about what is important to them. These few minutes create a lasting relationship in class and it lets the students know that I care about them beyond their classroom abilities. It is never a bad thing to just sit and listen to your students.

Ask for help:

Whether you are a veteran teacher or a new teacher, there is a fear of asking questions. The idea that you might not know the answer to something or that you might need help is scary because people might think you are not a good teacher or administrator. Asking for help is something all of us have to do from time to time and it is nothing to be ashamed of doing. Asking for help is something that should be done more often and modeled for students whenever possible. We are living in a world where collaboration is vital an getting feedback from others is so easy. We need to be comfortable in not knowing everything and asking for help when we need it. The more people ask for help, the more others will do the same and we can all start to work as a community on solving similar problems. We are all in this together, so let's starting asking for help and helping those who need it.

These are four things that teachers can work on as they start the school year. In my experience, these four things can really make a positive impact on how the school year will turn out. Feel free to leave any other advice in the comments that you think can help all of us start the school year in the right direction.

- @TheNerdyTeacher


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  2. Very timely, practical advice. Thanks for your help with this message.

  3. Very timely, practical advice. Thanks for your help with this message.

  4. Yes. A caring & trusting classroom is a good thing. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great advice! I know I sometimes struggle with asking for help, because I don't always know who to ask. I am the only one in my school in my position. I have found that reaching out to people at other schools who work in my same position has really been a great resource for me.

  6. Thanx a lot. Back to school is never easy no matter what everyone says. Yes, I’ve read like at least 10 back to school articles. And all of them are meant for parents and their kids. But how about teachers? They also need support and a piece of advice. Teachers will never ask for help as no one expecting them to. Therefore, thank you so much. While kids can easily turn to some online services for papers and get assistance, teachers can’t and have to deal with their problems on their own.


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