Our Teacher Leader for the New Teacher Deep Dive is Tch Laureate Crystal Morey. From Crystal:
What I remember most about the weeks leading up to my first year as a teacher were the crazy dreams. Have you had those? Most of mine were about forgetting something. Being late to recess to pick up the students, not arriving to school on time, failing to get a kid on the correct bus. Needless to say, I can remember the anxiety that comes when you begin something new. It’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago and now I get the tremendous opportunity to share resources, solutions and advice with you. In those 10 years, I have learned many valuable lessons.
In this space, I’ll be creating monthly challenges for you. I’ll will be thinking about them through the lens the following three components:
- Reducing anxiety
- Building positive, personal and professional networks
- Establishing respect in a classroom
Please reach out with questions by posting in Q&A and tagging your questions with the topic “New Teachers.” You can also post to Twitter, tagging @teachingchannel and myself @themathdancer along with #ntchat. I look forward to being a source of support as you enter this rewarding profession. Thank you for making the choice to educate and develop our future!Challenge #1:
If you haven’t already, you are about to experience the feelings that arise as you walk into your empty classroom for the first time. Rather than seeing this as lackluster and drab, I challenge you to see this as an opportunity to begin shaping your style and message.
Much like an artist would a blank canvas, imagine the enormous possibilities that can enhance the space transforming it from blank to inspirational. First, make this space your own. If the previous teacher has left quite the number of items in the classroom, take a moment to determine what you can recycle. Second, take time as you decorate. Craft a vision board. What are your favorite quotations? Who are the people that have inspired you to become a teacher? What colors make you feel at peace? What desk arrangement may bring about the greatest learning opportunity for your students? Remember, this will be your home away from home so make it comfortable and authentic to you. When you enter your space, you should feel comfortable, relaxed, and at ease.
After crafting your vision board, share it with us @theteachingchannel and @themathdancer (me), using #ntchat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I can’t wait to see your style.Challenge #2:
In one of my student teaching experiences, I worked with a very challenging group of 1st graders. A week into the experience, I ran to my advisor desperately seeking advice on what to do. The classroom teacher was yelling at the students and the students were literally out of control, fighting, swearing, and singing inappropriate lyrics during private work time. I was lost.
My advisor gave me a piece of advice that I have found incredibly beneficial in all aspects of my life. He said, “Crystal — you can not control the students. The only person you can control is yourself. You can choose how you respond to those students. You are always in control of your actions.”
As a teacher, and especially a new teacher, you will undoubtedly be thrust into situations where raising your voice, engaging in a power struggle, etc., seems the most reasonable action at the time. However, I encourage you to always maintain a sense of calm. When students get upset or unruly, you do not have to match that energy. Think of yourself, during these times especially, as a yin and yang of sorts. The more irrational a student becomes, the more calm and poised you will need to be to bring the energy back to a certain equilibrium. That is not to say you mustn't be firm, organized, and orderly. Yet, the response to misbehavior must not match the behavior itself.
When you become frustrated with certain student behaviors, take a few moments to breathe deeply and slow your heartbeat before responding. Maintaining a state where rational thinking can flourish will be imperative to your ability to accurately and effectively respond to student misbehavior.