Thursday, October 20, 2011


Here's how my teaching story started....
I had completed the course work for my certification program in Texas and now I just needed to land that coveted classroom internship. Our program coordinator called all of the remaining "teachers in training" to a meeting late one Thursday evening. They broke the news to the seven of us, that remained, that if we didn't have a job secured by the end of the next day we would have to repeat the program again! Basically start from scratch and lose an entire year of work.

I was offered a job the very next was only 45 miles away. Two hours of driving a day isn't so bad of a commute, right? I can do anything for one year right? And after that year I would be a real teacher! What I didn't know then, but what I definitely know now is that that one year would be the worst, hardest, scariest year of my entire life! 

Yes, I was going to have my very own classroom, and even though I had spent the last year preparing to teach Kindergarten, I was sure that my skills and awesome ideas would translate easily to fourth grade.

My job offer came in on a Friday and I was to get my class the following Wednesday. This was early October, by the way, so I was hired to help ease the congestion of a few over crowded classrooms. I had two days to observe and prepare before opening my classroom doors.

Needless to say those two days flew by at lightening speed. Totally unprepared, but naively confident,  I opened my doors. I can wrap that year up in basically two words, "I survived". No literally, I survived...being poisoned! 

Luckily, I learned many lessons that year, the first of which was to keep my water bottle and purse safely locked away at all times! Seriously though after leaving that school and finding a much warmer and friendlier place I discovered something which I believe is absolutely crucial to every teacher's first year. It is a really good MENTOR!  Believe it or not I actually had a mentor that first year, but just because something has a label attached doesn't make it actually so. You can call a mop a mentor, but it's not going to help you figure out what to teach for Math tomorrow.

Here's where I get to my inspiration for this blog. My second year of teaching I had the best mentor any teacher could possibly hope for. That year I didn't even have to worry about surviving, because I had the support I needed and I actually got to really teach for the first time. 

My goal is that no teacher should merely survive that first year or any year of teaching. So if you need a mentor, I'll be it! In the posts to follow I hope to give some practical tips and strategies so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when you run into a problem. Now my main focus will be on Kindergarten because that has been my favorite grade so far, but I also have experience teaching first, second, fourth, and some special ed. 

If you are just starting out, I don't want to scare you. I just want to get you ready for what you signed up for. If you ask any teacher what's the number one rule of survival in the classroom, they'll probably all say the same thing. Be prepared!  Simply, if you're prepared for anything, you can handle anything!

You are never alone in the world of teaching. There are so many resources out there for you, you just need to know where to look!

All the best!