Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Teacher Advice

sunriseNext week, our teachers will return to school and get ready to start the new school year. Recently, I got an email from someone who will be teaching special education for the first time and asked me for some general advice. I wasn’t told what grade level or what handicaps will be involved but I think my advice works for all. I thought I would share with you what advice I gave.

General advice:

1. Take time to eat your lunch each day - you will need it for energy!

2. Take a multivitamin (because your body will need to fight off all the bugs the kids pass on to you).

3. Have a hobby to do outside of school which is necessary to relieve stress.

4. Stay away from negative people. Expect to go through some tough times (which is natural) so you don't need negativity to make you feel worse.

5. Be open to suggestions from experienced teachers around you.

6. But be careful about trusting the wrong people (who may steer you in the wrong direction)

7. Call parents the first day and introduce yourself and tell them how excited you are about teaching their children.

8. Call or email parents every other week to touch base and brag about their children). The parents really appreciate this and you will get more supportive parents this way. The administration loves this too! Keep a log of who you call, when you call, and notes about what you talked about.

9. Ask to sit in on another special education teacher's IEP meeting so you can watch the procedure before you have to hold a meeting.

10. Find a special education mentor if the school/district hasn't given you one.

For all you experienced teachers, do you have any general advice that you would add to my list? Please share!

Image: 'Morning light'


Sioux said...

I would add:

* If they have the chance to team-teach with a regular-ed teacher (and actually team-teach, not sit off to the side or be an "aide") they should do it. ALL the kids will benefit from the strategies they bring.

* Stay out of the teachers lounge. Unless it is NOT a place to vent/complain...

* Believe in the kids. Most of the time, with support, the special ed kids have rich stories to tell, and often, they are real "characters"--they have quirky personalities which will enrich the teacher's life and make for wonderful memoirs.

Pat Hensley said...

@Sioux Thanks! These were great additions!

Acquire TI said...

I find that it is effective to choose one or two areas that a teacher wants to grow in. Sometimes teacher growth can feel so overwhelming and even elusive. Identifying key areas can narrow the focus and objectives from one term to the next!

Pat Hensley said...

@Acquire TI That is a good suggestion. Sometimes we want to grow in too many areas and instead of getting good at something we get mediocre at many things. Thanks for commenting!