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Rookie Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Found in: New Teachers

The number-one mistake is not getting to know your peers. I got so caught up in getting to know my students that I failed to get to know everyone in my hall! Now I realize that other teachers are a new educator’s greatest resource—not just for advice about school, but also for sharing recipes, thoughts on relationships, and life in general. I work with some people that I truly believe are some of my greatest role models.

Another common mistake is thinking you will have enough time. I plan, plan, plan and it always seems like there is never enough time in each day. Even on a day when everything goes amazing, I find myself thinking, “If I only had one more hour….”

More no-no’s to avoid:

Skipping lunch! You are given a lunchtime for a reason. We all are guilty of working through lunch, but you need energy for the rest of the day. Your class is depending on you, and being hungry is a distraction.

Thinking every day is going to be perfect… I don’t have bad days; some are just better than others. Those days that are not so good are what I consider character building.

Assuming parents are the enemy. Don’t be scared of parents. They are your greatest supporters, with many talents and ideas to offer. When you form positive relationships with your classroom parents, great things can happen.

Not keeping a teacher journal. Some are good and some are not so good, but memorable moments occur each day. I write about my teaching, behaviors I observe, and interactions with my students and peers. It helps me too—after all, the key to the future is learning from the past.

Not having a change of clothes at school. Yikes! This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. I wish someone had told me (especially as a kindergarten teacher) to keep an extra change of clothes and shoes at school. Live and learn!

Ignoring community connections. I think a lot of new educators feel like they need to do everything solo. Reach out to your city councilman, your county commissioner, your senator, etc. If you do, someone will likely adopt you. One of our Las Vegas City Councilmen adopted my class my very first year and was an incredible community partner to my classroom.

Giving up! It is so easy to get frustrated and feel overwhelmed. Take some time to stop and smell the roses. If you don’t, irreplaceable teaching moments just might slip by. You are doing an incredible job! You are igniting an educational fire inside children by making them think, hope, and dream every day. Who else gets to help build dreams when they go to work? When you start to feel down, look at every face in your classroom—32 kiddos smiling at me = a very successful teacher!


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