I mentor new teachers each year, both formally and informally, and my favorite resource for them is the Advice to New Teachers printable. I encourage them to hang it up by their desks or to put it in their teacher planning binder to remind themselves that their early years are hard, and that they need to be kind to themselves.
For mentor teachers and instructional coaches that help teachers survive and thrive in the tough world that is education, I have the Top 5 Tips on How to Be a Great Coach/Mentor for Teachers Tip Sheet. This tip sheet outlines the top five ways a mentor or instructional coach can help support new (and veteran) teachers.
An important part of mentoring is the reflection that comes with talking over educational problems, big and small. Taking time to discuss what works and doesn’t work is how beginning teachers become master educators.
Download a collaborative reflection worksheet that mentors and teachers can fill out together each week. Using a reflection worksheet allows both the mentor and the teacher to track progress, take steps to correct problems, and to look back later in order to identify patterns over time.
Although my state has many official forms for new teachers to fill out, I like this Glow/Grow Feedback Form for observations because it gives me a chance to both highlight what the teacher is doing well, as well as to reflect on how they can grow. I like the positive terminology used, rather than “Right” or “Wrong” because I find that new teachers can be both hypercritical of themselves and can also become defensive when being critiqued.
One of the hardest things a teacher has to do is plan for a substitute. Likewise, one of the hardest jobs a person can have is to be a substitute teacher. To make the experience as positive as possible, have a substitute teacher binder ready for those unexpected sick days! Download my free Substitute Teacher Binder Resources to get started.
Ask any veteran teacher what got them through the many years of teaching, and they will most likely mention organization in their answer! These ready-to-use printables will help you keep your classroom, lesson plans, and paperwork organized. My kit of resources includes:
My Notes Printable: Write down notes from staff meetings or conferences in designated note sections
This Month Printable: Use this blank monthly calendar to plan out daily activities, lesson plans, and objectives
My Class Printable: Catalog important student information on cards for easy access
Labels Printables: Use labels to mark assignments that need to be graded, returned, copied, filed, recorded, and more
Vocabulary learning does not take place only inside the English department. All disciplines, from Art to Science, require that students learn discipline-specific academic vocabulary. However, too often this learning takes place in silos, but is never connected across disciplines.
Whether you are a teacher, specialist, or principal, download two tip sheets that will assist you in implementing a school-wide vocabulary focus!
I also have created some awesome back-to-school posters that I love to have in my room, in order to answer the inevitable questions “Why do we have to do ____ activity?” and “Why do I have to learn a new word if I already know this synonym?” I like to just point to my posters — ‘nuff said. Download three inspirational posters for the English Language Arts classroom.
Download three anchor charts and student handouts that will support writing assignments in your classroom. The first poster highlights five common uses for commas, the second poster highlights homophones, and the third poster features adverbs that don't end in –ly.
The Other Ways to Say... Posters are also incredibly important back-to-school resources. I print them out onto cardstock, tape them together, and then hang them down my wall. As students walk into the classroom, they can immediately see my passion for words. More importantly, students will learn alternatives for the overused words and a resource to reference during writing assignments.