Apr 09

Survival Skills and Strategies for New Teachers

Posted by BSCAA in The Alumni Blog on Apr 09, 2013

By Otis Kriegel, 2000 Bank Street graduate

It was great to be back at Bank Street, speaking to recent alumni, current students and professors. I hope to return again soon. If you missed my workshop, How To Survive Your First Years of Teaching & Have a Life, here are two quick tips from the many I covered on how to be confident, relaxed and more effective in your first years teaching.

Share Good News

Principals are burdened by responsibilities that are beyond your wildest imagination. Some good news about an event, lesson, activity or victory from your classroom can remind them of why they are doing the job: to be involved in the joy of teaching and learning.

Create Activities to Involve Parents

Many parents don’t participate in their child’s class because they either aren’t sure what to do or they feel intimidated based upon their own negative past experiences in school. I have heard parents say, “I didn’t volunteer because I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do.” or “I hated school so I am not going back there unless I have to!”

Create clear, simple roles for parents to follow so they know what they can do, when they can do it and how it will help their child’s class. For example, they could help set up an art project or clean up after a rather involved project, walk with the class on a neighborhood field trip for 15 minutes or help during a morning work time. I’d take 10 minutes of volunteering any day in exchange for parents to feel comfortable in their child’s school. No need to drag them on a full-day field trip right away. Get them in the classroom for short spurts, having fun, and you’ll have a roster of parents who feel they are more able to help.

For more survival skills and strategies to help you to become more effective in a hurry, I post tips for new teachers on Twitter and Facebook five days a week, and you can purchase my book Everything A New Elementary School Teacher Really Needs to Know (But Didn’t Learn in College) (Free Spirit Publishing) at the Bank Street Book Store or by visiting www.OtisKriegel.com.

tagged otis kriege, strategies, survival skills
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