#starringthesixers,  academics,  classroom,  new job,  new teacher,  sixth grade,  teacher,  teaching,  volunteer

Oh, If Only I’d Known…

Hello, there!! Welcome to a new blog series here at Starring The Sixers! I finished up the Classcraft blog series last week and was trying to think what I wanted to do next…and I stumbled upon the idea of a series geared towards first-year teachers. My book, From Newbie to TOY in Zero-Five Years (super working title), is intended to help first-year teachers navigate the pitfalls of beginning to teach so I figured a blog series on that topic would be helpful as well. It’s a seven-week series that will take you more or less right up to that first teacher workday! Some posts will have freebies and some will have step-by-step directions for what you should or should not do but most will be dedicated to a tip or piece of advice that will help you crush your first year of teaching. Let’s go! 

My first piece of advice is this: don’t volunteer for everything. If you, like me, are a generally helpful person who likes to please people, then you might find yourself agreeing to do a lot your first year. People asked me to sell tickets at a ball game – I said yes. PTA asked for volunteers to help backstage at our school pageant – I said yes. After-school program needs another volunteer – sure, why not? 

I even volunteered to run the clock at the middle school basketball games after a desperate email plea for help bounced into my inbox. Worst. Decision. I. Ever. Made. Those parents take their basketball seriously and I seriously was not a good clock-runner. Who knew that you didn’t change the possession arrow every time the ball went the other way? But I said yes because I thought that was the thing to do.

Somehow, I had it in my brain that the more things I agreed to help with, the more job security I had. I thought that, if I said ‘yes’ to every person who asked for help, I would be guaranteeing that I would have a job next year. And, sure, I bet my administration liked that I was helpful and our Athletic Director was grateful she had a shmuck around who would say yes to desperate email pleas, but volunteering for every little thing isn’t a way to ensure job security. 

It’s a way to potentially ensure that you go nuts. Being a first-year teacher is tough enough. You’ve got lessons to plan and discipline to figure out and your own life to live. Volunteering to help out every now and then is great but don’t get yourself trapped into saying ‘yes’ every time you’re asked to do something. Because if you do…pretty soon, you’ll be the only one they ask.

So my advice to you would be this: feel free to volunteer for stuff. Selling tickets at a baseball game is great because you also get to see your students play. Maybe you would be really good at running the clock at a basketball game. Maybe you’d really enjoy tying corsets at a middle school pageant. But I would highly recommend against saying ‘yes’ to everything. It’s too overwhelming and you’ve got a lot going on. So say ‘yes’ but say it in moderation and never more than you can handle! Trust me.

To any other veteran teachers out there reading this post – what are your hallowed words of advice for the new teachers? What do you wish someone would have told you before you hit the hot seat for the first time? I’d love to hear about it in the comments and I’m sure the new teachers would love to as well. 

For now…that’s a wrap!!