TJ has a great method for motivating her students through her gamification wall. Not familiar with the concept of gamification in education? Look for an upcoming segment this month featuring TJ and two other teachers with more information about how they use it in their classrooms! For now, whet your appetite with a look into TJ's seventh grade math classroom.
A Peek at TJ's Gamification Wall
What advice would you give to pre-service and first year teachers?
When I struggled through my first year and wanted to quit, someone told me that I needed to stick with it for three years before it felt comfortable. And she was right. Around year three was when I started to feel more comfortable with what I could and couldn't do, and I began to see the bigger picture and just take things one day at a time. My advice is to hang in there; it will get better. You will get better. Just love your students by being the best version of you that you can be.
What's your favorite way to engage in a little self-care during the school year?
Saturdays are my rest days. I try not to let myself do anything work related. Everyone needs one day off a week. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to get behind, but everything always works out in the end. I have found that what always feels urgent is not always important. Also, I seem to manage my time better when I have a limited amount of it, so devoting a day to rest is actually helpful.
Do you have any good teacher tips for working smarter, not harder?
Collaborate with other teachers. Figure out good systems in your classroom and take the time to teach them well in the beginning so that they work like clockwork quickly throughout the year. Set up your classroom decor at the beginning of the year so that you don't have to change it up much during the year. Find a way for kids to be as self-sufficient as possible in your classroom so that your time/attention can be focused more on the learning.