Monday, August 15, 2016

Advice to New Teachers by Mike Siekkinen

Welcome, new teachers! We’re glad to have you “in the trenches” with us. You’ll probably receive “loads” of advice. Most veteran teachers want to help you and one of those ways is to advise you about how they do things.

Just remember that they will tell you often what works for them. This does not always mean it will work for you. With that being said, let me give you some (more!) advice that can save you. One of the biggest things about being a teacher is keeping track of all of the things occurring with your students/parents and administration. You can quickly become overloaded with all of the requirements/forms/contacts you will be required to keep track of. The start of school this year, I was required to send home for signature or just information, 10 separate items for each student. Each of these completed forms needed to be alphabetized and compiled and then sent to a different person within our school. Come up with a file system that works for you. This could be an accordion folder, separate file folders, a desk drawer where you put all of these type of documents or whatever "works" for you.

The next phase of this will be student work. How will you keep track of it? Where will it be turned in and what do you do when it is graded? Think about these things, try something and if it doesn't work, try something else. Just don't "quit trying". Your first year is the roughest, just hold on for the ride! It will and does get easier as your "teacher bag of tricks" gets fuller and you “survive" that first formidable year.

New teachers, do you have anything you need to know about? Veteran teachers, any specific advice to share with the new teachers?

Dr. Mike Siekkinen, a retired U.S. Navy submariner, became a teacher as a second career. He teaches history at St Marys Middle School as well as Adult and Career Education at Valdosta State in Georgia.