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5 Things I wish I Had Known as a New Teacher Part 1

1. I wish I had known not to work so hard. It took COVID for me to see that I had let my job absorb nearly my whole life. Taking a step back with the ups and downs of the 2020-2021 school year made it evident that there is more to life than work. I now have an alarm set on my phone so that I am more aware that I need to go home and take care of myself.

2. Look at the pay scale from the bottom. An old wise teacher once told me this. I wish I had done this. Now that I am at the bottom of the scale, of course I am looking at this, but as a new teacher I always looked at the top few levels. This is especially true if you don’t want to move around and work at different school districts.

3. Build up some sick leave, but once you have it built up, if your district offers no incentive, MAKE SURE YOU TAKE SOME TIME OFF FOR YOURSELF! When you are gone you will be replaced easily. For your family you are not easily replaced! Stress is the root of disease in most cases, so love yourself.

4. Every school building has a cow who wears a bell. I have worked in many schools, and most of them had a cow with a bell. The cow makes him or herself valuable. This is the person who helps the administrator out thereby escaping administrative criticism. This person carries influence. Be friendly to the cow even if you don’t like him or her.

5. Your boss has a shiny nickel–the thing that makes him or her say “WOW”. At one of my first jobs the shiny nickel was a pretty bulletin board. To my advantage, I liked making a pretty bulletin board, so I had the shiny nickel and was favored for this and several other reasons. Find out what your principal’s shiny nickel is–ask veteran teachers at your school.

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