Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching {Linky Party}!

Hello!  I'm back from vacay and I'm joining Miss Kindergarten's linky party about the Top 10 things I've learned from teaching!

1.  When in doubt, talk it out.  You will have disagreements with co-workers, unfortunately.  If that happens, I've learned it's best to walk down to their classroom and have a good old fashioned face to face conversation.  Most of the time, this works!

2. Manilla folders.  They will be your best friend.  You can never have too many.  They are good for filing away needed papers and resources, but they are also good for file folder games and sending home information with parents.  For whatever reason, most parents keep something if you put it in an all important manilla file folder.

3.  Teacher's Association.  Here in Oklahoma, we don't have a teacher's union, we have a professional organization.  Not only was it a wonderful resource for me as a new teacher, when I did have a problem with my principal...they knew just what to do and how to phrase things so I could keep my wonderful relationship with my principal intact. (P.s. If you are a teacher in Tulsa, here's a link to TCTA.  They also have links to info. about the TLE evaluation if your district uses it.)

4.  Collaborate.  I've learned to collaborate and share with my colleagues.  In the business world, this sometimes means you don't get "credit" for your ideas.  In teaching, teachers that you help will tout your great idea and give you the credit.  So share, my friends, share.

5.  Have a Life!  People, aka your non-teaching friends, will not understand how all consuming teaching is, at first.  If you let it, teaching will consume your life.  You will ALWAYS have something to do, but it is oh so important that you schedule time to be you.  You know, the "you" you become when actually go on vacation...the you that isn't cutting out laminated things and planning centers.  If you want to know the truth, I'm still working on this one myself.

6. Songs. You can waste valuable time telling your students to line up or you can sing it.  It doesn't matter if you can sing in key.  They automatically stop what they are doing and listen.  Also, students learn concepts better with song.  I'm sure there's a scientific reason why this happens, but I like to call it MAGIC!

7.  Classroom Dojo.  Best free app ever.  When I taught 3rd grade, I used this everyday.  Students would magically raise their hand to answer a question, if I gave them classroom participation points.  When they decided to "act up" it dings their points.  At the end of the week, dojo will tell you calculate a percentage.  I put it in my grade book for their behavior grade.  Also, parents can log on and see how their kiddos behaved everyday.

8.  Teaching is Political.  I have your attention don't I?  But teaching is political.  What happens in your school and what is required from you is decided by lawmakers at your state/federal capitals everyday!  Stay informed about education reforms being kicked around by people who have NEVER stepped foot in a classroom, much less actually taught for multiple years.  Call your representatives, be polite and courteous even when it seems like they aren't listening to you.  Your voice will be heard.

9.  Band-aids Cure EVERYTHING!  I know these seems like a sweeping statement, but students {especially 3rd graders}  will think..."Hey, I can get out of class if I need a band aid."  Ah ha, don't worry little one, Mrs. Cowan has a band-aid.  This comes in handy with little guys too.  If they are upset, even if they aren't bleeding a little band-aid or ice pack will make everything ok.

10.  HAVE FUN!  Sometimes life is sad and yucky, but don't bring it to school with you.  Plan something fun and simple and you'll remember why you LOVE your job! 

I hope some of these things help you if this is your first year or your last year teaching!

Later Gators!


  1. I love the band-aid advice! Too true. Even if the cut is so minor and clearly not bleeding. It makes everything better.

    Ms Richards's Musings

    1. I'm glad this happens to someone else! I mentioned this to a teacher friend and she looked at me like I was crazy! :)