#SOL17: Advice

April is fleeting.  May will soon be here.  How has your year gone?  In retrospect what advice would you give yourself for this year?  What advice do you have for the remainder of this year?

Here is some of my thinking . . .
advice.jpg

First Year Teacher:

  1. Ask for help; don’t twist in the wind when you are stuck! Find someone you can trust to help with day to day questions.  Find someone you can trust to help with instruction/curriculum issues.  (Double bonus if one person fits both.)
  2. Have a Plan A; be ready with Plan B and all the remaining letters in the alphabet!  Plan to learn as you go! Remember that FAIL is First Attempt In Learning and is not permanent.  Learning = growth.  Plan to grow!
  3. Stay out of the drama. Avoid the locations that are filled with drama each day.
  4. Try something new!  Surround yourself with innovative thinkers and doers.  Their creativity and willingness “to do/learn” will be contagious!
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate!  Use transparency as a cloak that surrounds you.  No teacher has ever over-communicated!
  6. Build a PLN!  Locate like-minded individuals for conversations, collaboration and coaching.  
  7. Reflect daily on your learning.  Plan for each day to build upon the day before!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily!
  9. When in doubt ask your students; it’s their classroom!
  10. Be professional . . . in your words, actions, and intentions!

Veteran Teacher:

  1. Write out your mission/vision statement.  WHY are you teaching?  Be honest.  Make it personal.
  2. Figure out when and where were the last three times that you laughed with your students about something silly you did.  If it’s not in the last month, you need to lighten up and take yourself less seriously!
  3. Name three things that you have learned this last week from your students.  What have they taught you?  Or reminded you of?
  4. Check your positivity meter.  Do you hang out and learn from positive people?  Change your audience/PLN/cultivate new friendships!
  5. Do you have a growth mindset? What would your fellow teachers say about you?
  6. Be passionate. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show!
  7. Find your tribe. It’s always easier to build common understanding collaboratively.  Find a group where you can problem solve, share, read and write together!
  8. Do what you ask your students to do:  Read and write daily! Make the time!
  9. Be a life-long learner! For REAL!  
  10. Practice revision in your life.  Know what it feels like to revise thoughts, plans, and actions.

The waning moments of the school year . . . what advice do you have?  

What would you add?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

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27 responses

  1. Fran–thanks for the great advice for new and veteran teachers. One thing I’ve realized lately is that with my change in grade level this year and the mounds of new curriculum, my fun factor has gone way down. I’ve been making it my goal to lighten up, laugh a lot, and have more fun with my students.

    1. Great reflection. So many ways to have fun AND learn, but if there’s no JOY . . . how sad for everyone in the room! Thanks for sharing. When my OCD task-driven self kicks in, my FUN factor always goes way down. I know how that goes, unfortunately!

  2. My favorites – Writing your mission/vision, living like a reader and writer, and practicing revision! Great advice….for everyone!

    1. Maybe it was wondering about a “quick” mid-course correction, like checking a compass, that led me to thinking about advice. Thanks for naming your top three! 🙂

  3. My advice would be to ground every decision in doing what’s best for the kids. You can’t go wrong that way. Whether this be letting kids make more decisions in the classroom or in determining the course of their learning, it really is all about them.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. That is so important.

      I was thinking about “Trust yourself. Put the needs of the students first” but I’m not sure where that thought went as I wrote this. I was originally going for top 3 but I far exceeded that! LOL!

  4. What a fantastic list, Fran!! You are such a light.

    For the vets, I’d also add try something new! This concept has been more valuable to me the longer I teach (7th year), now that I’m not so overwhelmed with everything being new in my first years. #SOL17, Book Madness, and helping my kids creating a website are just some of the “new” I’ve been able to focus on this year!

    1. Thanks, Lorie!
      Yes. Growing. Learning. Try something new. Revisit something old and discarded. With a new twist it may even be rejuvenated! 🙂

  5. Great advice!
    For the veteran teachers I would also add–Reach out to the new(er) teachers; share your experiences with them. Let them know we all make mistakes and we learn from them.
    Thanks for making me think about why I became a teacher, Fran.

    1. Diane,
      It’s interesting. Definitely reach out but I’m often surprised by the number of folks who really already know it all and don’t want to hear any “old” ideas. Continually growing and learning is not on everyone’s radar . . . but such an important idea! ❤

  6. Oh, I NEEDED this today! Thank you, Fran! I’d add…take care of yourself! Remember to cultivate a life outside of the classroom walls. It’s like the airplane presentation, put on your own oxygen mask first!

    1. Michelle,
      Erika said that also! But I love your “put on your own oxygen mask first”! Great advice!

  7. Great advice – wisdom shared for new teachers and veterans. A great post, Fran. Honest, sincere, and thoughtful!

    1. Thanks, Lynne! I was originally thinking “Looking forward, Looking back” but I ended up “listing” instead!

  8. Fran,
    This is so timely because it is that crazy time in a school where intent forms are due and staffing is being shared and thoughts for next year are louder than the day to day of springtime. Personally, I keep wondering what I should really be when I grow up and your Veteran Teacher prompts are helping my think. Thanks for sharing at just the right time.

    1. Oh, Sally, I have no clue what I will be when I grow up. So many choices! ❤

  9. I love this post! Your advice is perfect. I would add be brave (which could be the same as a few of yours) and take care of yourself too. We in this helping profession are not always so great at helping ourselves.

    1. Thanks, Erika. How could I forget “Brave”? Yes, so important for folks to balance out work and home lives! ❤

  10. Wonderful advice! This is my favorite one: Do what you ask your students to do: Read and write daily! Make the time!

    1. Aileen,
      That is one that is dear to my heart. We are so much better teachers of readers and writers when we ARE readers and writers ourselves. It’s totally a different level of understanding!
      THANKS!

  11. Invest in your students & form relationships, getting to know who your students are and what their lives are like! This, I feel, is a key to great learning and teaching! Invest.

    1. Relationships are the key! So true! Thanks! 🙂

  12. Great lists for the newbie and the vet, Fran. My advice this time of year is to find joy in the kids, let them know you enjoy their company and have been honored to have been entrusted with their learning lives. This is not the time to check out and show videos – our kids deserve better.

    1. Tara,
      So important to use EVERY minute wisely! YES! Thanks!

  13. Fran,

    I love your FAIL..First Attempt At Learning — I have heard this, but needed the reminder. Can’t agree more that no teacher has ever over communicated; I learned this over and over in my role as a coach! And your list for veteran teachers? It will be displayed in my classroom prominently with each of those powerful reminders. Thank you, friend!

    My advice for the waning year… make every minute count and teach to the #lastbell!

  14. Such great advice! I laughed with my kids today. It’s a must.

  15. Loved reading this and all of the comments. I’d add smile more (because it feels good) and assume goodness is in everyone, we just need to look for it.

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