I’ve been working on this blog post for quite some time now, but I really wanted to make sure it was thorough and well thought out before I hit the “publish” button. I care so much about all of my followers, but I hold my “teacher followers” so close to my heart, so I wanted to really take my time with this one!
Two things I want to say before I start in on this post. One, if you are a teacher, THANK YOU for doing what you do, you will never ever be thanked enough, ever. In my humble opinion, being a teacher is one of the hardest professions as well as one of the most underappreciated, so if you haven’t been told today, thank you!
Two, I want to preface by saying I probably know less than 10% about everything there is to know about teaching, and I am definitely not better than any of the people reading this right now! So don’t take this as the end all, be all, right way to do things! But I totally understand wanting to read about someone else’s techniques and tactics, so I hope I can be helpful to you in that way.
- What do you teach?
- I teach Kindergarten!
- How long have you been teaching?
- I am in my fourth year of teaching.
- Where do you teach?
- I teach in Leawood, Kansas.
- How did you end up at your school?
- The jobs were few and far between after I graduated college. I also went through an excruciating process of getting my Arkansas teaching license transferred to Kansas before the new school year began so it narrowed my options a little bit. I just applied online anywhere and everywhere I could and hoped for the best! I took my first offer (I was panicked at the time) and have been at the same school ever since!
- How long did you student teach and in what grades?
- I student taught for an entire year, and taught entirely on my own in each of those classrooms for a combined four weeks. Every college does student teaching differently, but I truly think my student teaching program is what made me the teacher I am today. It was extremely thorough, and I could not have felt any more prepared than I did when I graduated.
- 9 weeks in 2nd grade
- 18 weeks in 3rd grade
- 9 weeks in 1st grade
- What’s your advice to a first year teacher?
- You’re going to get it right 5% of the time. You’re going to question whether your kids are learning every minute of every day (at least I did). You’re going to be so tired, and you will want to quit at times. You will cry, a lot. It’s all normal! Always remember to keep pushing and give them your all every single day. Your kids are always learning, whether you know it or not. In the end, you’ll get through it and you’ll realize how quickly it went by and how truly successful you were, even if you didn’t know it at the time!
- What’s your advice to someone student teaching?
- Be prepared to not land your dream job right out of college. You might, but chances are, you won’t and that is totally okay! I was discouraged when I first started because it wasn’t where I had always imagined myself teaching, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about it. I’m still here and I love it!
- Experience every single thing you can. Go to staff meetings, professional development days, committee meetings, parent/teacher conferences, do all of the things outside the normal realm of teaching. All of those aspects make up your job just as equally as teaching does, so it’s important that you get a feel for those things too. Teaching is made up of so many aspects outside the walls of the classroom so it’s good to get a feel for those things before hand!
- References are everything. Invite your principal to come watch you teach. It’s scary, but that is the ONE person that your future employer will want to talk to when they’re considering you for a job. It will make the world of difference if they’ve seen you in action and are able to convey your teaching style, skill level, abilities, etc. to someone wanting to hire you.
- What are your favorite shoes and jeans to wear to work?
- Shoes linked here – this brand is phenomenal and pretty much the only brand I wear to school. They match everything and they’re like walking on clouds.
- Jeans linked here! I wear these every single day. I own 7 pairs and that is no exaggeration.
- Where do you shop for most of your teacher clothes?
- H&M, Old Navy, and Marshalls. My clothes get glue, paint, dirt, mud, boogers, and worse, on them on the daily. I try to be realistic/not spend a lot of money on my teacher clothes because most of them don’t last more than a year.
- How to you keep close connections with your student’s parents?
- Email them. I choose 4 students per week to email a “happy gram” to their parents. They each get one once a month, they take me less than two minutes to write, and it means the world to both the parent and the student. I have gotten more positive feedback from this than you could ever imagine.
- Keep them updated through email/a monthly newsletter; make them feel involved without it requiring effort on their part.
- How long do you see yourself teaching?
- This is hard and I’m really not sure I can answer that! There are a lot of things I see in my future that aren’t teaching; blogging, being a stay at home mom, etc. But on the same token, my job fulfills me more than anything, so giving it up seems so unrealistic right now. I’m taking it as it comes! We’ll see what happens.
- How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
- It’s just something I knew! I don’t know how to describe it. Ever since I was little I have known teaching is what I was meant to do. I also did a program in high school that allowed me to student teach my senior year, so I got a taste of what I was getting into even before declaring my major in college. Obviously student teaching in the end is what truly solidified things for me and assured me that I was on the right path.
- What guided reading program do you use?
- How do you run your literacy centers?
- We do Daily 5! There’s a great book that I read years ago that helped me implement Daily 5 linked here.
- I also occasionally create phonics centers just based on what I can find on Teachers Pay Teachers and work them in when I can.
- How do you balance being a teacher, blogger, girlfriend, etc?
- I DON’T. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like I have it all together because I don’t. I spend some mornings/nights/weekends not doing enough for school and then my week is a disaster, I’m unprepared, and I’m a complete mess. But there are also times that I’m so consumed with doing things for school and I’m not giving enough of myself in other aspects of my life. I aim to obviously be somewhere in the middle, but it doesn’t always happen. It’s okay! If I have learned one the the past few years that I’ve been teaching, it is to give myself grace in all aspects of my life.
- My best advice: get to school early. My day starts off so much better when I’m prepared in the morning, and I absolutely hate staying late at school, so mornings are just what work for me. Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, spend that time cranking out as much as you can, and you’d be surprised at how much less you have to do at night/on the weekend. This also frees up my evenings for workouts, errands, dinner, time with Taylor, blogging, etc.
- When I do have to work outside of the weekday mornings, I try to minimize it if possible. My favorite thing to do is go to my local library, set the timer on my phone for an hour, and work with no distractions until the hour is up. I’m always amazed at what I can get done in that time frame.
- How do you avoid burnout?
- This is another hard one to answer. I think the biggest thing people struggle with, is balance. Work to live, don’t live to work. That has always been my motto and I really try to keep that in mind. My job means SO much to me and I’m thankful to love what I do, but it’s not my entire life. The minute you start giving up your personal life or neglecting your passions outside teaching, is the minute you become burned out.
- Don’t recreate the wheel if you don’t have to. Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are both LIFELINES for me. I’m willing to pay $1 for something as opposed to spending two hours of my own time trying to recreate the same thing that won’t be half as good. Be resourceful, there are tools out there for a reason.
- Other than that, assess your burnout. What’s making you feel burned out? The grade your teaching? Your team of teachers? The content? After you feel like you have a grip on what’s causing it, figure out where you can make changes.
- DON’T FEEL GUILTY! If your heart isn’t in teaching anymore or the passion you once had for it is gone, be honest with yourself and move on if needed! You can’t pour from an empty cup, and to be honest, you’re doing your students a disservice by being their teacher if your heart isn’t in it anymore. They deserve more, and you deserve to be happy too!
- What behavior management system do you use?
- I use a clip chart! Love it or hate it, it works for me. Do what works best for you! My kids also have sticker charts. At the end of the day if they’re on pink or purple they earn one sticker. Once their chart is full they get to pick from a treasure box.
- How do you avoid the work room snacks?
- I make sure to pack plenty of snacks to have with me throughout the day, so typically it doesn’t bother me to have sweet treats and snacks around! But if I’m in there and see something delicious, I decide if it’s something I truly want, or if I just want it because it’s sitting there. If I really want it, I’ll eat it, if I don’t, I don’t.
- Do you pack your lunch every day?
- Yes I do! I eat the same snacks and lunches all throughout the week. It makes meal prep a breeze and as long as I change up my meal and snacks each week, I don’t mind it!
I think I answered almost every single thing, but if you have questions, please feel free to DM me! I’m always happy to answer teacher questions if you have them!
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