~ Re-arrange your room: try a learning center in a new spot; if possible, relocate your desk and use its backside as a new surface for anchor charts, magnetic letters and numbers, or an art display.
~ Ask colleagues for a tour of their teaching spaces: you can learn a lot about organization, efficiency, learning centers, technology tools, safety and differentiated instruction by sneaking a peek and asking questions. Teachers are eager to share if you’ll only ask.
~ Sell, donate or recycle the old, unused, or unnecessary items in your stash: if you’ve been teaching for more than five years, it’s likely you’re beginning the subtle transformation from collector to hoarder. Sort, assign, donate. Trust me, you need the room and new teachers need hand-me-downs.
~ Modify worksheets and practice pages to best meet the needs of your students: at the beginning of the year, it’s difficult for many of my students to sit and write for long periods of time. It’s even more difficult to keep pages they’ve started and set aside from being mangled, cut, or taken home before they’re finished. I cut my handwriting pages in half, so instead of having to practice four numbers at a sitting, my Stars only have to practice two (our pages are two-sided).
~ Map out your curriculum plan/schedule for the year: use a monthly planner or day runner to keep track of your weekly theme, letter of the week, math concept, science vocabulary, and journal topics. I even keep track of early dismissal days, mid-quarter assessments, grade card dates, field trips, parent/teacher conferences and other special events on my master calendar.
~ Follow Pinterest boards and blogs: you’ll find great photos, links, ideas, crafts and tips from fellow public and home schooling teachers online. Why recreate the wheel if you don’t have to?
~ Pick up a new hobby: it’s easy to inspire a love of lifelong learning in your students if you’re a lifelong learner yourself. If it feels like you’re eating, breathing, walking, talking and sleeping public education, choose a hobby away from the school building. Read a book for pleasure, attend a concert or play, learn how to crochet, sew or bake. Take up walking or start a new exercise program. Learn to speak a new language, and make sure to set aside “you” time weekly to recharge your batteries and smell the roses.
~ Expand your mind: sometimes all it takes is listening to or reading a great thinker to help our own brains kick it up a notch. Follow interesting people on Twitter, join group pages on Facebook, contribute to a wiki, or, if you’re an occasional insomniac like I am, watch the latest TED Talk videos.
What additional advice do ~you~ have for fellow teachers?