Thursday, May 8, 2008

Advice from New Situations (Shea Beaudreau)

Dear Shea,
I have worked with you since December and have loved every minute. Not all people can come to a new school in the middle of the year, juggle servicing two grade levels in the beginning, and do it with the grace you have accomplished.
What advice can you give to teachers that are about to enter a new and unknown situation? What words of wisdom can you share with these new teachers?
Thank you,

Dear Terri,

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences about teaching. Even though this is my eleventh year of teaching, I am still learning every day. Each year of teaching brings new joys and challenges and more opportunities to add to my repertoire of strategies to reach all learners. In response to your question, I have many words of wisdom to share with my colleagues entering a new and perhaps unknown situation. First let me note that Chets already does a fabulous job establishing these supports as part of their rituals and routines.

Be Flexible - Rise to the challenge! Always be open to new possibilities and be willing to try new things. Change causes you to grow and you often realize you can accomplish things you never knew you could do.

Time Management & Organization - Prioritize your “to-do” list. Learn all of the time-saving tips that you can and beg, borrow, and steal every organizational strategy and tool to implement in your classroom and office. I love visiting other teachers’ classrooms so I can see what is working for them. I can always tweak a strategy to meet my needs.

Communication is Key - It is vital to express your concerns about entering a new grade and offer suggestions to make the transition smooth. If you need support with a particular area, ask for help BEFORE you become overwhelmed!

Learn from a mentor(or two!) - I think it is key to learn from other skilled teachers who are willing to share their ideas and their classrooms for observation. Even after our first year of teaching, we all need good role models! I can’t begin to tell you how many good ideas I’ve learned from my co-teachers over the years and since arriving at Chets.

Read, Read, Read & Research some more - There are so many rich resources available to us, especially considering that the Internet allows us to connect to other educators around the world. Join a book study about an area you want to learn more about or participate in a blog about a topic of interest.

Surround Yourself with Professionals - At Chets, there are countless opportunities (weekly meetings, team meetings, staff meetings, book studies, WOW days) to be in good company and learn from other professionals, but it is also helpful to attend workshops, join an organization, travel to major conventions, and connect with other education professionals via the Internet.

Avoid Isolation - Collaborate and interact with your colleagues in and out of school as often as possible. It is so crucial to communicate your concerns and celebrate your successes. If you need support, DON’T be afraid to reach out and ask!

Thanks for asking! - Shea

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