Were you prepared to start your first year in the classroom? I know I wasn’t.
I went to a four year college to receive my bachelor’s degree in Education. And yet, I wasn’t prepared to take on my first year. I learned a lot of theory and history with very little practical application. I had a few strategy courses for how to teach some subjects and of course my short student teaching experience.
I needed time to dive deep into teaching strategies with ample time to practice and receive feedback before entering the classroom on my own.
When I finally entered the workplace, I had a major realization.
There is so much logistical newness that comes with entry into any career field. For me, it was a new landscape with so many unique characteristics that I wasn’t sure how my college career could have even designed a curriculum to prepare me for the environment, student demographics, administrative leadership style and so on.
I started writing down all of the lessons, tips, and strategies I was learning onto index cards and filed them away in a recipe card box. Every summer, I would dive into that box and review every idea I had discovered or that was shared with me. Each year, I gained proficiency and expertise in the classroom because of the lessons I was learning on the job.
When I ran out of notecards and space in the recipe box, I transferred all of my notes into a word document. By the end of my third year in the classroom, that word document was more like a book! Still wet behind the ears, I decided to publish that book so that every new teacher could skip over all of the obstacles I faced and become effective faster.
It might seem silly to publish a book in education when you are so new in your career, but I didn’t want to forget all the nitty gritty details that I found to be so NEW. I knew in time, all of the little details would become second nature and I wouldn’t even think to mention them to a newbie.
Now a decade or so later, I have taken that raw and novice book and tweaked it so that it is better organized with ideas more comprehensibly flushed out so that someone else could take it and run with it. That’s what happens with experience. You learn how to perfect your craft and approach to better help others. Nonetheless, the second edition is finally here!
If you are a new teacher or know a new teacher, share your knowledge and experience with them. We must help each other become our best because the kids in our classrooms deserve that. Our future is in our nation’s classrooms right now and if we can help those students achieve higher and wider than ever before, than we set our society up for success.
Please, pay it forward.
This is going to be your best year yet! GO BE GREAT!
What did you wish you learned in college to better help you for life in the classroom?