Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Advice to You Linky Party

It's interview season and so many new teachers are excitedly trying to get into a classroom of their own. Teachers already in the classroom are already assessing the year and starting to think about what to change for next year. More and more, I'm reading stories of teacher exhaustion and burnout. We have to help each other.  

I met up with some pretty fabulous teacher-bloggers for lunch this weekend. We chatted for *hours* and it recharged my teachers batteries so much. In spite of working in a school full of people, it can feel lonely as a teacher sometimes because it feels like you and your kids against the world. But this group of talented, funny, smart, and caring teachers reminded me that we aren't alone. Do you recognize these bloggers?
 Amanda from One Extra Degree

Michelle from Fabulous in First

Rebecca from Darlin' in First

Jessica from Second Grade Nest

Jodi from Fun in First

Lisa from Fourth and Ten

So... feeling encouraged and rejuvenated, I decided to host a linky party of teacher advice for new and veteran teachers alike. I'm no expert, but here's my best advice.

1. Give yourself permission to *not* live at school. You are allowed to go home and enjoy your evenings. New teachers especially get caught by this trap, I know. When I was a new teacher, I would be one of the first cars in the lot every dark morning {after an hour commute at that!}. I'd stay after my coworkers went home. It was exhausting. Give yourself one (or two if you must) "long" days at school and stick to it. I go in about thirty minutes early and try to leave within twenty minutes after school every day now. By final bell, I've worked all day and am ready to go home and unwind. You are allowed to have a life.

2. Do not be a slave to the paper monster. You can combat this in a couple ways. First, don't be a "worksheet teacher" and kill a bunch of trees. Second, don't feel like you have to grade every single paper with an eagle eye. It's okay to have students check their own work for instant feedback and it's okay to do completion credit sometimes. Third, what papers you DO decide to grade should be checked as soon as possible. Don't let them stack up on you! If I don't get to papers during the day, I toss them in my school bag and grade them while watching the DVR in the evening. It doesn't take very long and I'm able to catch any problems before we build on the assignment the next day. I keep my computer grades current every other day so I don't have a huge stack to enter at the end of the week.

3. Work smarter, not harder. I multitask, multitask, multitask during the day. I give meaningful morning work so I can quickly check in homework first thing in the morning. I grade weekly spelling contracts while I'm giving the weekly spelling tests. I've been known to grade papers while monitoring a bathroom break.

I print off weekly schedules/grids for my plan book instead of writing in the same information each week. When I put away this week's copies/masters, I pull next week's out of the binder and stick them in my "to copy" folder at the same time.  

I have my students complete room jobs to help start and end the day. I don't need to stay after school and set the room up for the next day if the students help me before they go. Three minutes of everyone working can save me 10 or 15 by myself. If I can make every minute count during the school day, I don't need so many extra minutes after school. 

I could probably write a novel, but who would want to ready that? ;) So please link up and let everyone in on your great ideas too. I can't wait to read all about it! Be sure to grab the button below to add to your post before linking up.

Pin It!


  1. What a great idea! I've hopped to everyone's blog and read everyone's advice! I thought it would be fun to get some advice from a substitute teacher on the 3 most important pieces of information that teachers often forget to leave behind! Thanks for the opportunity!

    The Adventures of an Occasional Teacher

  2. I have been known to grade papers while monitoring the bathrooms too. Great advice.

  3. Great linky! I've read your blog tons of times and thought I followed you but didn't! Ack! Fixed now!

    Strive to Sparkle

  4. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's advice. I like how you say it is ok to have a life and not be a slave to school. Thank you so much for reminding us all!

    Eclectic Educating

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. What a great idea for a linky party! We appreciate all of your great advice! We are still guilty of staying WAY too late at school. When you leave to go to work and it's dark and you leave after work and it's dark, well then you're working TOO MUCH! Love your blog!!!

  7. Totally agree with your Work Smarter not Harder comment - that is my current goal!

    Thanks for sharing, such a great linky!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

  8. Great advice! I just shared this on my Five on the Fifth post. Thanks for passing on the great advice!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

  9. Loved the advice you gave. My fav was "work smarter, not harder". Having kids help around the class at the beginning and end of the day saves me soooooo much time. The fact that the kids also enjoy doing it makes it a win win situation in my book!
    Thanks for sharing!
    :0) Melissa
    More Time 2 Teach


I really appreciate it when you take time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you!