Saturday, April 13, 2013

Must-Have Resources for New (and Experienced) Teachers

Wow. This week has been an emotional roller coaster! Lots of stuff going on and only one instructional week until the big test. Ugh. I saw this picture on Hooty's Homeroom  and I HAD to share.

'Nuff said.

Besides the stress of testing, one of the teachers on our team is out for maternity leave (great timing, right?) and we have a new member on our team as a long term sub! She is so wonderful, but this is her first time ever being a long-term sub. She is walking into a super tough situation at a super tough time of the year. It all made me reflect on what it was like my first year teaching (especially the first few weeks) and how stressful and overwhelming it was! It makes my heart race just thinking about it!

Looking back, it's amazing how much I have learned in a few short years. This is only my fourth year teaching and already I feel like I have grown exponentially. Our school has some tough-to-love kiddos and lots of challenges, but we work together as a team and we make magic everyday. But that magic does not come without hard work, LOTS of learning, and sacrifice.

I wanted to share some of the resources I have used over the years that have truly made a HUGE impact in my teaching. I'm sure you probably know already about most of these, but I'm sharing them anyway!! :)

The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher 
This one is amazing- full of ideas and lots of preparation materials for the first day and beyond. A must-have for any new teacher.

Setting LImits in the Classroom: A Complete Guide to Effective Classroom Management

This one is full of practical tips and strategies to combat all kinds of behavior problems and how to be proactive to avoid problems in the first place. A great read for anyone who struggles with discipline or has those "challenging" kiddos. Even if you don't, it's still a great read for perfecting your classroom management skills.

Ron Clark's The Essential 55

This one describes Clark's 55 rules for his students. A great read for setting and maintaining high expectations in the classroom.

And now, my absolute favorite: Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

This book truly deserves a post all its own. It has truly changed my teaching. It points out so many seemingly small things that can make a massive difference and has helped me truly reflect on my teaching. If you have not read this one, it's a MUST read for any teacher, regardless of how many years you have been teaching.

Those are my top four!

The amazing thing about teaching is how different each year can be. Every group of kiddos is different and provides its own share of challenges. Teachers have to adapt and change and be truly flexible. It's a tough job, but so rewarding. However, if you struggle with management and discipline, the rewarding moments are fewer and farther between.

Our profession is one of on-the-job training. No amount of student teaching or college courses can truly prepare you for what you face "in the trenches." That's why it's also very easy for a teacher to be drowning without anyone ever noticing. It's our job as teachers to support each other, help each other, and mentor each other so that we all can experience the true joy of teaching. :)

What resources have helped you become the great teacher that you are?? Please share!!!

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