Yesterday was the last day of the regular school year. I’m always a little sad to see our kids walk out the door for the summer, but this year it was a blubbering-all-day-long-good-Lord-what-am-I-going-to-do-without-these-kids day for me. It was my last last day of school. Retirement looms on the other side of mid-June. The unknown. The I’m not quite sure yet what life has in store for me step. That being said, this will be my last blog on the Edublog site before I (sometime in the next week) create a new blog and begin writing about whatever happens to come to mind, peak my interest, or just cause me to go “hmmmmm.” Shawn Nash, my amazing cyber demi-god, says that I can easily switch to a new site and take this writing with me. (Easy being the word in question. Has he not learned anything about my cyber capabilities in the past two years?)
So… with that being said, I choose to put into words a bit of old lady advice for educators. What do you say to someone just coming into our field and looking for ways to make it 25 years? Here are a few bits of truthful food for thought. Feel free to add to the list my friends. Our new teachers (who all happen to look 12 to me by the way) can use your wise and honest mentoring.
To all who choose to come into the field:
1) Welcome to the most important job on the planet. It will never make you rich in dollars, but the profession will bring you tremendous wealth in spirit. You will walk into your classroom thinking that you can change the world. You won’t… but you will have tremendous power and influence over the lives of countless souls during your career. Parents bestow upon you an honor and a privilege when they drop their babies at the school-house door. Cherish the gift.
2) Chocolate is an educator’s drug of choice. Always keep some in your desk.
3) Spend the first week of your school year teaching every possible expected classroom behavior and routine to your students (right down to how you expect kids to sharpen their pencils). It will save you countless hours of instructional time throughout the year.
4) Down time in the classroom is the work of the devil.
5) Never….ever…. EVER make the secretary, the lunchroom staff or the maintenance staff mad. They are the people who REALLY run the show. You will need them. A lot. If you, by chance, upset a member of these tremendous teams, refer to #2. Share the chocolate. With groveling apologies.
6) Administrators are people too. Don’t join those who mumble and complain about decisions coming down from the top. You don’t live in the shoes of these individuals and I can assure you they work ten times harder than you think they do, make difficult decisions every single day, and protectively have your back far more than they will ever let anyone know.
7) A little wine after 5 never hurt anybody.
8) Jeans with holes in them are for after hours.
9) Pray. A lot.
10) Take advantage of every bit of professional development you can get your hands on. Teaching is life-long school.
11) Contrary to what some may tell you, I still believe in hugging kids.
12) Do not live in isolation. Share what you know. Help another teacher. Use the tremendous ideas from colleagues.
14) Say thank you to someone every day. Including the kids!
15) Get your paperwork in on time.
16) Plan ahead.
17) Be willing to throw a plan out the window.
18) If the horse is dead, discontinue the ride.
19) Dig deeper. Keep the data. It truly is your friend.
20) You do not work at WalMart. What you say to your kids matters. Many will remember what you said for the rest of their lives. Make sure your words are affirming.
So there’s my twenty. The most important pieces of advice I can give. Come on my friends. Add to the list…. and may God bless you all!