They say that hindsight is 20/20. As the end of my 6th year of teaching looms closer and closer, I've been taking some time to reflect on all of the things I know now that I wish I could go back and tell my new teacher self. While some of the things I've learned had to come with time, there are a few things that make life and teaching so much easier that I would have loved to have been practicing and doing all along. Turning time would be great, albeit impossible, so I've decided to share them in hopes that a new ag teacher or two will read this and find them helpful as they begin their career. (Please excuse the orientation of some of the photos-despite my best attempt. I could not get them to upload correctly)
1. Organize your teaching materials
From cabinets to for each class to labeled files and folders, being organized will save you from wasting time trying to find things.
2. Provide a designated space for students to submit and keep their work
This will save you (and them) a lot of headaches when it comes to finding assignments that need to be graded. It also helps your students from losing things!
3. Make commonly used items easily accessible and easy to find
This majorly cuts down on the commonly asked question of "where is the (insert item here)?"
4. Label cabinets for students
Another way to make it easier for the students to find things they need.I like to do it using posters with words on them (ie. the positivity cabinet).
5. Motivational posters
Totally cheesy, but the students like them for some reason. (Fun fact: I got these 1980s gems from my mom when she retired from teaching.)
6. Get a class pet
It will make your students happy and the popularity rating of your classes go up.
7. Student bulletin boards
Students like to show off their work. I even let them decorate their board (hence the tie-dye border).
8. Have your own "personal space" to share info
This is a great way for you to be able to keep track of your teaching schedule, hang things that students make/give you, and post pertinent info like the bell schedule and safety drill protocols.
9. Hall Passes
Each of my students get 2 of these each marking period to use for anything except the nurse. At the end of the year, they can cash in unused passes for prizes. This has totally reduced the number of students leaving class on a daily basis.
It doesn't matter how old they are, there is something about getting a sticker that makes students happy.
Hope you all enjoy/are enjoying/have enjoyed your spring break!