I use laminated calendar pages as cover sheets for quizzes and tests. The kids love seeing a scenic location from the United States or just Texas. They never know which one they will receive.
I bake brownies, cookies, or a cake as therapy after a stressful day with my students.
I play my rock ‘n roll music at generally unacceptably loud levels when the kids have left the building, and only my beloved custodian knows my tunes and mood because of what I’ve chosen to blast through the hallways.
I tell my students that desks, chairs, and all belong to me. They are to treat my belongings with respect.
I take notes when I talk to parents, especially when the conversation will probably be touchy.
Golf pencils because the students HATE them. No erasers. This is one of the best teaching hacks I have encountered. Fewer pencils are missing as a result.
Just once, record yourself reading a test or quiz for your students who need the tests or quizzes read to them. Use the normal cadence of speech because that is what they are accustomed to hearing. Smile as you read it. They can hear the warmth in your voice.
Wait until you are calm before dashing off the ultimate scathing email that “that parent” needs to read to gain a truer picture of the truth: the “perfect” child who would never do ____ is not so perfect after all.
Fabric is great to cover bulletin boards. I change my boards several times a year to keep it updated and fresh.
Introduce yourself first to some of the veteran teachers who work in your hallway. You may need one of them sooner than you think. Just sticking to your department does not make you look friendly.
Keep your conversations at lunch clean and your comments about students factual. No emotions should be involved because the campus gossip has the auditory equivalent of a photographic memory and will repeat what you say word for word with hand gestures included.
I keep my “pantry” stockpiled with snack foods just in case I get too hungry.
Invest in some well-made clothing for work. Classic looks work well any day of the week. It sets you apart in a favorable way.
Keep an emergency substitute plan ready. Taking a mental health day keeps you employed.
Students will visit tutorials and stay longer than expected when you need to visit the bathroom. They will ask questions that only you can answer, so you stay put with that fake smile of pain plastered to your face. It never fails.
Do not make excuses for a student’s bad behavior or a poorly-managed class. Keep them in line, or someone else will.
Expect your students to meet your high expectations. Do not lower your expectations. Many a struggling student has overcome the hardships in life to become a success.
Be a good neighbor. While you are accustomed to a noisy, unruly-sounding atmosphere, your neighbor is not cut from the same cloth. She prefers silence or soft instrumental music during individual work time. Shared walls transmit more sound than imagined. Respect each other’s differences.
I make anchor charts with color because I still love to color.
Have a good cry at home in your bubble bath while drinking your ginger ale after a horrible day at school that left you wondering why you became a teacher in the first place. Open your eyes the next morning, and say, “Thank You, LORD, for giving me rest last night. Please guide me through this day. Give me the strength I need just for today.” Brew the best pot of coffee possible or grab one from a local coffeehouse, put on a killer outfit, walk with firmness and determination in your step, and get back in there, and teach. Teach, teach, teach.
P. S. The picture of the darling classic outfit is from one of my boards on Pinterest, the golf pencils came from Staples website, and the anchor chart is my own creation. RLT