Sunday, March 1, 2015

What They Don't Tell You When You're a First Year

There are so many things that teachers know, or in a first year teacher's case, there are so many things that we need to know.  But no one tells us because they all already know.  It's no fault of theirs, teachers are busy, and teachers know these things, so they don't realize that we don't know.  This is by no means everything I've thought of this year, but it's what has come to mind today.

  • Fire drills, earthquake drills, and lock down drills!
    • You need to know where your class goes when they evacuate, where your emergency backpack is, and what the protocol is for lock downs.  For me, I teach in an open space school, which means there are other doors I need to lock in the event of a lock down.
  • Playground rules
    • It seems silly, but different schools have different rules!  Don't wait until you're on duty for the first time to realize that you have no clue what to do.
  • Where everything is
    • Yeah, that's a tough one.  You'll figure the basics out quickly, but if you don't ask where you can find things, you'll never know.
  • Who to contact for all your needs
    • Let's face it, a kid is going to throw up in your classroom's already happened to me.  And you need to know how to find the custodian.
    • When will you need your office staff?
    • What about PTA? - When it comes to fundraisers, PTA is usually who you'll need to contact for questions, extras, and basic information.
    • Health Office - A lot of schools/teachers have different opinions on when kids really need to go to the nurse.  Get a feel for the general opinion at your school, or else you're going to be the one who they'll say "from ___'s class again?"
    • Resource staff - You're going to have students who will need resources classes, and you will have students who already go to resource classes.  What they do in those classes, although helpful, is not as helpful for you if you are not in communication with the resource staff.  You want to know what your students are doing with them and how you can continue that in your classroom.
  • When report cards go out, and when they are due to your principal
  • Lunch
    • Where students with peanut allergies eat lunch (peanut free table)
    • Do you have to do a lunch count in the morning?  We never did when I was in elementary school, so I had no clue that was even a thing!  Also, your cold lunch kids may need a cold lunch slip.  Don't send them out without one!
  • Which students' photos can/cannot be posted online
There's obviously more, but to really list it all would make an exhausting read!  (Especially for those new teachers looking for what they need to know!)  Feel free to add what you wish you'd known during your first year of teaching in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I loved your point about when you should send kids to the nurse. Those cultural things, how to BE a teacher in this school - I am not sure they can always be told. But a new teacher does need to learn them fast. If this is your first blog post, it's a good one. I wish there had been blogging many moons ago when I was a new teacher.