What I’ve learned after two and a half weeks of teaching

Hello everyone! So I know it has been a little while since I have written and I’m so excited to be able to update you on how everything is going at my new job. So today is Saturday and I have officially been teaching for thirteen days. I officially began work on August 1st, having to go into the school and participate in professional development and school/district meetings. Now luckily, I was able to finish my room, meaning decorating and organizing it all, before I had to begin work. During development, I was able to meet my colleagues and teachers that I would be working with closely for the rest of the year. I had the chance to learn the inns and outs of the school and was able to get acclimated to the environment as well. At first, it seemed like a whirlwind. I felt like I was drowning in paperwork and information, but after about two days I saw the light and felt like it was all going to be okay. I was able to get everything settled and plan for the first two weeks of school and begin the third week before our open house.

My Open House experience went fairly well. I’ve never really been to an open house nor have I ever been on the other side (teacher’s point of view), so this was definitely a first experience for me. Once Open House was over, I felt mostly prepared but also learned a couple of things. I feel prepared with having information set up about my class and having a sign-up sheet for those who stopped by, as well as the classroom material list for my students. But I also felt like I had not been fully prepared because I did not have a handout to give to the parents about the class and the remind app information with it. Other than that, I thought the open house went really well. I enjoyed getting to meet my students and their parents and making connections here and there with them.

Then came the first day of school. I was very nervous but very excited and so I wasn’t freaking out yet. When my first-period students came in, it was like everything exploded. I realized that I wasn’t prepared for the yearbook portion of the morning, having to explain the rules and go over the yearbook with them. I also felt like I wasn’t prepared to explain all the paperwork with them and I wish that I had spent more time preparing for those housekeeping items. After that, however, I felt like I knew what I was doing because I had a plan and my plan worked out fairly well. The rest the day went very smoothly and I really enjoyed my students. By the second day I felt very encouraged, making me feel like this was what I was supposed to do. Friday also went very well. My students had their first quiz and seemed to do very well on it. Now Friday was also the first day where things didn’t go as planned. My students ended up having a lot of free time at the end of class that I didn’t want to have. Luckily, my students were pretty wonderful that day and did not cause any problems. Overall, I wished that I would’ve had more work for them to do that day than I prepared for them.

After week one I felt as though I was getting the hang of things. I was able to determine that I still had improvements to make, but I was well on my way to gaining a better understanding of what I needed to do and how I needed to function.

Week two went fairly well. Right from the beginning, I had the students diving into the curriculum and having them participate in class activities and individual activities that had them reading, writing and speaking in Spanish. The students were beginning to pick up some vital phrases and vocabulary throughout the week. On Friday, I gave them a quiz and almost all of my students did very well on it. I was beginning to see the students that needed to be challenged as well as the students who needed some extra help.

During this past week, the third week, I felt more relaxed, having created a routine and learning each day how to be a better teacher. I have seen that on the good days and bad days, I still learn something new. Sometimes I learn small things, such as having an extra activity to keep the students working is not a bad idea. I also learn big things, such as taking a student outside to discuss their behavior can be very efficient and keep them from getting into further trouble in class.

Yesterday, my students took their first test. I was pretty confident in the fact that if they had studied they would do well. That was the case for most students. Now this test was not an easy one if they had not studied or paid attention in class. There was some multiple choice, true or false, and matching questions, but I also included a short answer portion and an essay portion, having the students create a dialog like the many that they have seen, read, and created in the past three weeks. After grading all of the tests, most of my students were in the average range that I wanted them to be in (75% and above). I did have some who fell below that or did not pass at all, but there were very few. After seeing their results, I felt that I had taught most things well, but would like to go over some specific things, such as writing a dialog and specific basic questions and responses,  because I don’t believe that my students are picking up on them as easily.

Overall, I am really enjoying my job. It is challenging and it is something that I can see myself doing for a very long time. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store and am excited to see what I am going to learn, even in the next few weeks.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

Are you new to blogging, and do you want step-by-step guidance on how to publish and grow your blog? Learn more about our new Blogging for Beginners course and get 50% off through December 10th.

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Working on my Classroom

Hello! So I have currently been working on setting up my new classroom and getting ready for the year! At the end of May, I was able to acquire the curriculum that my school district uses, which is EMC Español Level 1:¡Aventura! With this, I was able to plan for the first semester of my classes this year. I thought about continuing through the end of the school year, but since I was not sure how fast or how slow my curriculum pace was going, I decided to stop there for the meantime.

From there, I planned on how I wanted to design my room and what displays I wanted to include. I wanted to make sure that I included a lot of vocabulary and visual displays of words and phrases that are common in the Spanish language and that the students may not yet be familiar with at the beginning. So far, I have included posters with the colors and numbers on them and a word wall with basic classroom phrases and vocabulary. I have also created a student station where they will turn in their assignments, find their work from when they were absent and any basic materials that they might need such as staplers, germ-x, and tissues.

Not only have I included resources on the walls, but also inspirational posters and funny posters that lightens up the room and brings a positive light to the class. When decorating, I wanted to represent the Spanish culture in different ways. For now, it is mostly a South American perspective, coming from a largely Mexican influence. The reason for this was because there were more resources that were easy to find and purchase for the time being. I plan to add more details from different Spanish cultures as I go.

I did find out recently that I will be teaching 6 out of 7 class periods with one of them being a Jr High section. Each of these classes will all be Spanish 1. I am really excited about meeting my students and beginning my career as a Spanish teacher. All of the preparing and organizing makes everything more real and I cannot wait for it to start!

I graduated from College!

About two weeks ago, I graduated from Mississippi State University! I still cannot believe that I have finished four years in college and received my bachelor’s degree in Education! I have loved every single second being a student at Mississippi State and I would not trade my experiences for anything.

This past semester was one of the most rewarding, working with 8th graders at a local middle school. They helped me learn how to be a better teacher and helped me know that I am capable of teaching future generations. I feel so blessed to have been able to finish obtaining my degree and I hope to be able to return to a graduate program in several years. Hail State!

DSC05720

Big News!

As you can tell by the title, I have big news! I recently accepted a teaching job as a High School Spanish Teacher! I am very excited about this opportunity and cannot wait to keep you all up to date on my experiences with this new challenge.

One of the things I am looking forward the most to this job is my ability to start from scratch. The students have been learning French the past couple of years and have not had access to a Spanish teacher since then. Therefore, this is giving me the opportunity to begin the program from the beginning, helping me not have to reteach anything and start everyone on the same level. This will also give me the chance to mostly perfect my Spanish 1 curriculum that I will be prepared to teach it the coming years.

Overall, I am mainly just excited because I now know where I will be teaching and can begin preparing for the upcoming future. I can’t wait to meet my students and get to know my co-workers and school staff!

5 Tips and Tricks for Interviewing

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been going to different interviews for jobs in the surrounding districts of my hometown. I have had interviews before but not on the same professional level. I have been able to learn and a great many things through this process and would like to share some helpful hints for a successful interview. 

TIP #1 DRESS TO IMPRESS

I know that this is a cliché saying, but it is true. When going to an interview you want to give the greatest impression of yourself and dressing in a professional manner can help you achieve that. At my interviews, I wore nice black pants, a black blazer, and a modest top. I also wore closed-toed back kitten heels and had a small purse and my professional portfolio. You may not have some of these things in your closet, and that is totally okay, but I would at least try to have some type of similar professional ensemble. If you are not one to wear pants and prefer dresses or skirts, make sure that the dress is modest in length and covers all cleavage. I would also recommend that you wear close-toed shoes mainly because they look more professional.

IMG_8206

TIP #2 BE PREPARED WITH DOCUMENTS

When going to an interview, take copies of your resume, your cover letter, references and a portfolio of previous work you have done in the field you are applying to. There might be times when you get the chance to show the interviewers all of these things and there will be interviews where none will be needed. When you are not sure what questions they will be asking and what they will be wanting to see from you, I would make sure to go prepared and have anything ready to help boost your profile to them.

TIP #3 BE PREPARED FOR DIFFERENT QUESTIONS

Each interview I had, I had different questions asked. I had some interviewers ask me my philosophy of teaching and what I thought about homework. I had some ask me about how to work with students with different learning abilities and what my strengths and weaknesses are. Simply put, be prepared for anything. Some will be more detailed and some will be simple, the main goal is to get your point across and do your best to answer each question they ask you.

TIP #4 HAVE QUESTIONS READY

When finishing your interview, they will ask you if you have any questions and I HIGHLY recommend that you have some questions ready. If you still do not know much about the district, ask them what their school community is like. My common questions were “what type of technology do the students have access to?”, “what type of teacher mentorship programs are there for first-year teachers?”, and what type of curriculum/materials does this school use for ______ (insert subject)?”  Having questions prepared will help them know that you have extra interest in the position and shows a sense of responsibility and awareness.

TIP #5 BE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF

Last, but definitely not least, BE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF! When you are interviewing, you need to be able to be confident that you can do the job you are interviewing for. Even if you do not know the answer to a question, do your best to answer it or be honest and say that you are not sure and would need to think about it. I believe that it is better, to be honest than to give an answer that is completely incorrect and can make you seem like you are not well-equipped for the job. Also, it is important that you believe in yourself. If you go into an interview believing that you will not get the job, you most likely will not get the job. Smile, be positive and do your best!

 

I hope this has helped you as you prepare for your own interviews! All in all, just do your best and be confident in yourself. 

Hello Reader!

Hello! My name is Carley Mullins and I am the author of this blog! I am starting this blog to share my experiences with life and teaching as I graduate from college and begin my first years of in the real world. I hope to be able to shed a light on what it is like to begin a career as a teacher and hope to be able to help others who are in a similar life path or anyone who is simply in need of encouragement! I plan to write about different occurrences with my students, co-workers, family and friends (permission will be asked before including any names or pictures). I hope to be able to also shed light into different situations where certain teaching methods or recipes or life situations worked or did not work, hoping to help people with my learning experiences. I hope that you will want to follow me on my journey!

Sincerely,

Carley Mullins