My first year teaching was not great, I also cried alot. I was with 7th
graders and did not enjoy myself at all. But like it was mentioned before...there
is a HUGE learning curve your first year teaching. I had great support from
my other friends who were also first year teachers, as well as the seasoned
classroom teachers who taught in my building. Everyone has awesome advise, you
just need to try it out to find what works for you. Below is some of the good
advise that I got my first year teaching. As you are discovering, we on this
list are also here for support.
Sometimes kids can say cruel things, don't take them personally. If they say
mean things about you or your appearance you cannot take them to heart.
"Never let them see you sweat" Bees, dogs and middle school students can
Keep your classroom rules posted at all times, as well as the consequences.
Idle hands can lead to discipline problems (as you are already discovering)
I use something called the "Im Done Jar of Fun" for the students that are
finished early. I got the idea somewhere on the IAD website when I was student
teaching. I have a list of about 200+ sentences cut apart into strips in a
large can with a lid. The students can go to the I'm Done Jar of Fun" and select
one sentence out of the can and then proceed to illustrate what it says on
some manilla paper with colored pencils. The list I have made grows every year,
but they are all different kids of creative things to use their imagination
upon. (sort of along the lines of the uncoloring book ideas) My 4-6 graders
like this and do not see it as forced extra work. Email me off list if you
would to use my idea and my full 200+ list
I'm Done Jar of Fun Examples:
1)Draw what you would see if you were laying on the ground outside looking up
at the sky. Fill the paper with your sky drawing.
2)A shoe company has asked you to design their newest basketball shoe. Draw
your new basketball shoe the size of the paper.
4)Draw objects that are on your bedroom floor right now. Fill the paper with
as many objects as you can remember.
5)Draw what you think a T.V. will look like in the future. Fill the paper by
placing your TV in a room of the future.
Don't make "empty" threats. If you say that you are going to call home, them
call home. The immediate cell phone call to home technique that was made
earlier is so very effective!
Just like the Boy Scouts - Be Prepared! By the end of my first year
teaching, most of my lessons were planned to almost the minute...including clean up!
You can never be too prepared.
Remember that you chose this for a reason...make a list of those reasons and
read them to yourself often. I would read my reasons why I wanted to be an
Art Teacher every morning before school started the entire first year. (I kept
the list in the front of my grade book). Sometimes we all have those bad days
and cannot remember why we decided to do this job. Even now that I have been
teaching for 5 years, I still look at that list on a regular basis. Being the
Art Teacher is a wonderfully rewarding experience, we are the luckiest
teachers in the building sometimes. Be patient, it will come.
Keep all of the little notes and signs that students make for you that say
things like "you are the best art teacher", " I love art" and the thank you's
that they sometimes write. The littlest kids tend to write these nice notes
most often or draw you pictures from home. I keep these in a file in my desk and
at the end of a bad day I use them to remind myself that I do make a positive
difference in the student's lives.
It does get better! Next year when you start you will already have your
discipline plan set. The third year you will begin the year even stronger. I was
also told that do not decide the first week that you want to quit, nor the
end of the first year. By the end of your third year if you are still counting
more bad days than good, then maybe it is something to consider.
Here is to a better week, I am sending good thoughts your way!
Patti in Toledo, OH