June 28, 2015

Advice to First Year Teachers

As I was commenting on this blog post by Teaching with Crayons and Curls, I began typing a novel... so I decided I should just link-up and do a post myself! A lot of my advice is similar to hers, but I will try to elaborate differently!

I am not too far removed from my first year... last year was my second year, so I am nowhere close to knowing everything... but I also remember exactly how that first year felt. I don't want to scare any of you who are in your first year, but I want you to take comfort in knowing that you are not alone if you feel like you are treading water, on the verge of drowning, all. year. long. Also, take comfort in knowing that the second year is so much easier! [Side note: my second year was REALLY hard because I had a lot students with specific needs and behavior issues like crazy, but the teaching aspect was easier!]

The DOs:

1. Do know that it is perfectly fine to borrow things and steal ideas from your teammates, friends, mentors, etc. Teachers that have been teaching for years do this too! It makes your life so much easier if you have people to help you think, plan, and create! However, my first year, I didn't have much to give... I just did a lot of taking (and that's okay!). You can make up for it later! :)

2. Do save (almost) everything you use! Start getting organized! [I hate file folders, so I am switching all my files to binders this year.] You will reuse a lot- even if you don't want to do the exact same thing, you can use the same ideas or revamp prior activities. It is always good to have something to fall back on just in case you are pressed for time!

3. Do stay positive! This is important. It is really hard to be around negativity in the workplace because it brings others down too. You don't want to be the one causing other teachers to get frustrated, and your kids will definitely catch on if you're not enjoying what you do! 

The DON'Ts:

1. Don't compare yourself to other teachers (this is for any year teacher... and really a rule that girls should live by in general: don't compare yourself to others). It's so hard to see other teachers putting up outstanding, super cutesy student-work in the hall when your kids' work that day looks like you came up with it on the fly (and maybe you did). Obviously teachers that have been teaching for longer are going to have more ideas. You can learn from them! And if this year you did a boring worksheet on contractions, next year you can improve that to sentence strips and macaroni noodles, and the next year make it even cuter! CUTE is not as important as it seems. Trust me, I know that it is hard to have your students' work hanging in the hall next to SUPER TEACHER's work... but that's just it! If it's over-the-top cute, the teacher most likely put in most of the work. My first year, the students' work was for practicality. It helped them practice the skill. Last year, I added some "cuteness" and made it more student-centered. This coming year, I already have most of my ideas for what I want the students to be doing... so I have spent the summer downloading some cute clipart and fonts to spruce these items up. The cute will come later! Teaching styles are different, and that's okay too! You might not teach the same way that your neighbor or your mentor does... don't get discouraged! Find someone you plan well with, use their ideas combined with your ideas, and do what your kiddos need!

2. Don't let it take over your life. It is scarily easy to let your job take over every aspect of your life. Sometimes you will feel like you eat, breathe, sleep school. You need to set limits for yourself. Make yourself leave school at a certain time each day so that you still have time for your family. If you like to take your work home with you (I do), set a time that you have to stop working no matter what. Make one day your "stay late day" to get things done, but don't stay late any other day. Now, with that being said, there are weeks (first week of school, special school events, etc.) that you might have to stay late more than once or stay past your set time to leave. Overall though, you have to make boundaries for yourself or you will live at the school and have no life outside of it.


LOVE YOUR BABIES! Your first class will always have a special place in your heart. Even if you feel like you haven't taught them a thing all year, they will remember how you treated them. Teach them love!

June 26, 2015


Linking up with Third in Hollywood for
TpT Seller Challenge Week 2

I'm a little apprehensive about posting my dreams for a store that is just getting started and really hasn't taken off at all. I realize that perhaps it never will, which is fine, because it is just a place to put the products that I'm creating for my own kiddos... and since I've already created them (or will create them in the future), why not share with others?! Especially now that I am finally learning the ropes. Hopefully people will be able to enjoy these products! :)

This blog is also definitely a work in progress, so maybe my first dream for my TpT store should be to make enough to buy a blog design instead of trying to design it on my own. :) This will do for now!

  • My long-term dream would be to be able to stay at home with my (future) children while they are young. Although I absolutely love teaching, it does take at least 110% of my energy and "giving-ability," so it would be nice to have a little more of me to go around when I have kids of my own to pour into! Oh, and I'll need a few extra doses of patience then, too!
  • It would also be wonderful to have enough extra money lying around to help people in some way. I'm not sure what that would look like. The Lord will have to guide me in that... maybe giving to local missions, maybe having a large enough house to let people stay with us when in need, maybe providing meals for those less fortunate... The possibilities are endless (and really get me excited!). 
  • I would LOVE to be able to travel with my husband. I've done my fair share of traveling as a kid with my dad on business trips, was lucky enough to travel around Europe when I graduated high school, got to travel some with Young Life (Colorado, Oregon, ZIMBABWE), and finally went on a lovely honeymoon when school got out this year... BUT I have yet to get to travel with my husband (besides our honeymoon and small day trips), so I would love to get to explore the world with him!
OH and of course I would like to be able to purchase everything I need (okay, want) for my classroom! Including iPads for every student! :)

A girl can dream... RIGHT?!

June 22, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge

I had yet to start a teaching blog, although it has been on my to-do list for a while, until I joined the teachers-pay-teachers seller challenge. Reading through other blogs and teachers' thoughts on blogging, I decided it was time to start. Especially since this week's challenge is to blog!

This coming school year will be my third year teaching- first grade all three years. Normally, I would imagine, a teacher's first year is a little hectic with a lot of spur-of-the-moment decisions and trying to stay afloat. I would describe my year the same way, but I would add a little more chaos and would say I was desperately trying not to drown! It was WONDERFUL, and I had the SWEETEST class in the world... but I was thrown in in late September, after the students had been with different subs for two weeks. It was chaotic to say the least. Thankfully my teammates helped me out tremendously, but it was really hard work. Props to you if you have subbed long term or taken interim positions mid-year- I definitely understand how tough it is! The students were constantly reminding me that "That's not how Mrs. ******* did it! That's not how we do it," which was actually pretty helpful (even though I would never let them know that)! Anyway, that year was spent trying to survive, and I counted it a success since everyone made it out alive. However, when my second year came around, I hadn't saved many of my resources (there was no time for organization!). Therefore, as the year progressed, I decided to start making some of my own products by enhancing resources I had found stored from the previous teacher or had been given by coworkers. A few of my teammates encouraged me to start a TpT store when I shared some products with them... so that is how my store began and has now led to this blog!

Teaching is my PASSION. Some days it takes every ounce of energy I have to keep up with my babies, but it is so worth it to see their growth throughout the year (socially, academically, physically, as a person). My prayer is that they feel safe and loved every single day that they are in my classroom. However, since the days are so exhausting, I find that TpT really helps me out when I am in need of resources or new ideas!

The first challenge was to revamp a product, and I ended up editing ALL of mine from my old store and putting them (the finished ones) in my new store. This might have been a poor decision since I couldn't take my followers with me, but somehow I had managed to create two separate accounts- an old one where I bought everything and then the new one where I sold items. Due to all my credits and purchases on the old one, I decided that's where my store should be also. Please check out my new and improved store!

Here are two examples of some remade products:

I added new clip art and included the rubric in with the
graphic organizers instead of having it as a separate product.

Added new clip art.

My next post will be about my dreams for my TpT store!