Setting Up My Classroom As a First-Year Teacher…
As a full first-year teacher, people would often ask me what I would look forward to teaching. My answer would be one of two things: (1) decorating my classroom and (2) my students. (I have formal teaching experience for ONE semester on top of a formal education in education. Plus, I’ve been in some kind of job in the field of education since 2014.) Either way, my favorite part of my job (right now) besides bonding with my students, is decorating my classroom. (Update: I began this post in August… my room is still changing, and I love my students more and more daily. We have a strong bond.)
Every time someone enters my classroom, they enter into the world of Disney. (You can check out my Disney Obsession post.) Some may question my choice for using Disney in a middle school classroom. It’s an easy answer for me. Disney is an ageless and timeless theme. There’s something for all ages with Disney, and that’s what resonates with me.
Strangely enough, people wondered how my students would take to having a Disney classroom, and they love it. (Or, at least they lead me to believe that they love it.) Some of my students LOVE Disney and it allows us to bond on a personal level.
For those who were not such fans, I have been slowly but surely winning them over with Disney. Either way, it seems to work and has helped me build a strong class culture. We’re an Ohana (family), and Disney is one of the threads that keeps us together. Plus, it doesn’t take much effort to sell my students on Disney, because they feed off my passion, love, and energy. It works!
Preparing For New Students as a First-Year Teacher…
I had a bit of an advantage with my students. Fun Fact: My current students are my mother’s former students. They had her as a teacher last year, and I was a familiar face around campus. Not only did I volunteer for field trips with the students, but I showed up to sit in class with my mom, AND I would fill in as a substitute. By the time I arrived, the students already knew and recognized me as “Ms. O’s Daughter”. This made bonding with the students extra easy.
However, there were a few students who thought to put me to the test. They knew that my mother was far from a pushover teacher. She gave them tough love and she showed them that she cares. Because of my youthful appearance, I tend to appear mild-mannered and like a pushover. My students quickly found out that I am far from a pushover, and I am much like my mother. I will be honest, I give respect, I command (not demand) respect, and I care. However, I will not tolerate nonsense or disrespect.
I informed my students that we will have fun. We will get on each other’s nerves. There will be days when we don’t want to be there. However, it is our jobs to push through, persist, learn, grow, and progress. I don’t want to just prepare them for high school, I want to help prepare them for life. Some of them have already experienced a little bit of the real world (working for/with their parents). Some of them have troubles and problems at home. I understand, and I will work with them. We all go through struggles, but the goal is to overcome, be stronger, and better than ever.
Nearing the End of the Fall Semester as a First-Year Teacher…
As we rapidly approach the Winter Holiday break, I cannot help but be amazed with how quickly this semester has gone. We will begin our third and final book for the semester in 2 weeks. My students are testing this week. Thanksgiving Break is next week. Before I know it, Christmas will be here.
I imagined that this semester would be long, tiring, and stressful. While it has been tiring and stressful, it has been far from long. At this point, my students have learned me, and I have learned them. We are comfortable with one another, and we have become set in our ways. Now, my goal is to amp things up a little.
Energy is not a problem for me in the classroom. Though the introvert in me is EXHAUSTED on a daily basis because of my contact with so many people in one day, I bring the energy with my students. I use my energy (and passion) to invest my students in the lesson. Does it work for all of them? No! BUT I am able to capture the attention of most of them. Plus, it helps that they think of me as their “cool” teacher. (LOL)
So… What Happens Next?
I have become more familiar with my “teaching groove”. Now, I am going to kick it up a notch. As I take on the task of preparing my students for the state testing in April, being successful in high school, and read more difficult texts, I want to make the year FUN and MEMORABLE for them. Plus, I want to chronicle the classroom as we go through. With that being said… I am going to add a Classroom Chronicles portion of the blog. Plus, hopefully, by the beginning of 2019, my vlog will be up and running.
To stay updated, make sure to subscribe. Plus, I would love for you to share the love by sharing this post to social media. Are you a teacher? Do you have any advice for a first-year teacher? Are you a Disney enthusiast? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time! XOXO…0