Archive for September, 2013
Ashley Grinnan, a UT Arlington graduate in the online Literacy Studies Master’s degree program is currently teaching in Texas. She has also been an online teaching assistant and academic coach for Literacy Studies graduate courses at UT Arlington. Her tips below are geared for new teachers but can benefit us all. Thanks, Ashley! Comments are welcome. What are your own time management challenges and success stories? What works best for you?-Dr. Semingson
Ashley Grinnan is in her 9th year teaching 4th grade, 6th year as a UTA TA, and her 5th year as a foster/adoptive mom. She earned her Bachelor of Science from UMHB, and her M.Ed. from UTA. In her spare time, she enjoys sleeping, baking, traveling, scrapbooking, and photography.
Teachers need resources, and one of the most precious resources they have is TIME. It seems like there are not enough hours in the day to plan, prepare, teach, reteach, copy, replan, meet, fill out paperwork, meet, fill out paperwork…did I mention fill out paperwork? In fact a great gift for a teacher would be a stamp with their signature! How do we fit it all in? How do we fit it all in effectively? How do we get some sleep?! Being a new teacher is overwhelming at best. To get beyond just surviving, teachers need strategies to thrive.
Planning: Teachers have so many items on their to-do list. It is essential to have a planner or calendar of some kind. I have a giant desk calendar that I mark duties, special programs, and meetings. I look at it every day. You could also keep a digital calendar, that you color code for home and school activities.
To Do Lists: Whatever you need to get done, write it down! Over the years, I have even built “base” to do lists. I have one for the beginning of school, end of school, field trips, etc. Don’t put these on random sticky notes, but rather have a dedicated notebook or digital checklist. Take care of things as they come up, so you don’t get buried by papers at your desk
Grading/Paperwork: Take advantage of any bit of time you have. While monitoring the room, carry around a clipboard with papers you are grading or forms to fill out. Even if you only get a few graded, it is something you don’t have to do later. If at all possible, use computer programs that grade for you, like eInstruction.
Files: If you do a lesson and love it, save it! Make files on your computer (or in a file cabinet) on different topics. Purge periodically.
Conference Time: Your conference time is precious. It may be your only chance to use the restroom after all! Many people get sucked into conversations and internet surfing, and before you know it, your time is gone. You may have to close your door to keep out unwanted interruptions. Prioritize and get things done quickly. Grade, copy, email, fill out paperwork. This is not the time to browse the internet looking for new lessons, nor is it the time to complain about the students. If you are planning with your team, stay on topic. Speak up if the conversation turns to gossip or whining.
Lessons: Plan ahead, copy ahead. I try to stay at least 2 weeks ahead. At first, you may be doing well to stay one day ahead, but as the bumps smooth out, you’ll have more time to get ahead. Also be sure to have sub plans ready to go. You may want to use folders or trays to organize subjects and days, so you can grab and go!
Routine: Establish a routine for yourself, just like you do your students. Stick with it, and you will be more productive.
“Beg, Borrow, and Steal”: Do not reinvent the wheel. Find what others use and do and copy what will work for you.
After school: Go home! Get what you can get done, then leave work at work. You will be a better teacher and person if you take care of yourself. Plus, you can always use Pinterest at home!
Note from Dr. Semingson-We will be showcasing guest blog posts from teachers and UTA faculty. Stay tuned. Please feel free to leave comments below. Which of Katelyn’s tips can you relate to? Thanks for the guest post, Katelyn!
My name is Katelyn Issleib and this is my second year teaching Pre-school Special Education. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. I am very passionate about teaching students with disabilities and my teaching philosophy is: “If a child does not learn in the way you teach them, teach in a way they learn.” (Ignacio Estrada)
Here are a few teaching tips I have learned over the past two years:
- Don’t stay late every day. It’s important to get the job done well, but that doesn’t mean staying at school until 8:00 or 9:00 PM every night. Pick one or two nights to stay late to work, and leave at a reasonable time the other nights.
- Make friends with the school custodian and the school secretary. These are the people that can usually help you with projects when you really need it.
- Don’t spend too much of your own money. I used to buy a lot of things for my classroom out of my personal budget and forget to turn in the receipts to get reimbursed. Be sure to track what you spend and then turn it in, teachers don’t get paid enough as it is!
- PLAN PLAN PLAN! It can be tempting to write a lesson idea on a sticky note and use that as your plan, but it really is beneficial for you and the kids when you write out what you are going to teach ahead of time.
- Ask for help. As a new teacher it can be overwhelming at the beginning of the year and I know I had a LOT of questions. Don’t be afraid to bug people to get your questions answered. Remember they were a new teacher at one point, too.
- Finally, take time to really listen to your students. I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in “to-do” lists, but it always brightens my day when I just sit down and have an authentic conversation with the kiddos and really listen to what they have to say. It makes them feel valued and it always reminds me why I do what I do.
We will be posting useful advice and “tips for new teachers” from classroom teachers, UTA faculty, and other bloggers!
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction presents the New Teacher Induction Webinar Series this fall.
The webinar series is free. The first free webinar is a guest panel of UTA graduates from teacher certification programs. The title of Webinar 1 is “Advice for New Teachers”.
Date: Saturday, September 28, 2013. Time: 1:00—2:30, Central Standard Time.
Anyone interested in learning more about teaching may attend the webinar.
Registration: Please email Jane Merrill to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the webinar series, please email Peggy Semingson: email@example.com
This blog will announce events for those interested in building digital community for teachers! Stay tuned!