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Summer is such a fabulous time because we get a little bit of distance from our profession and from everything that happened during the year, especially after a year like the one we've just had with COVID in our lives.
I love this time of the year because we get to start slowing down, the weather is beautiful, and we get to start thinking more reflectively about our practice.
However, as the world starts opening up again and we start thinking about moving back towards the classroom, I know a lot of you are also feeling nervous.
There have been a lot of conversation inside my Facebook groups recently in terms of teachers being really concerned about classroom management and developing relationships with parents - especially if we go back to in person learning in the fall.
Many of you ended up teaching online this year (or much of your student teaching ended up being online) this year. So, many teachers have not even had experience in the classroom yet.
Now don't get me wrong, classroom management and knowing how to effectively develop relationships with parents are always hot topics for new teachers. I get asked all the time what I recommend in terms of books for both of these topics. But this year, the pressure might feel even more with many new teachers having little to no in-classroom experience.
So today, I want to share 2 books with you that I found to be the most effective, cut through all of the theory books that I would recommend you read in order to hit the ground running in the fall and feel confident in each of these areas. I also want to share a personal development book that I think is critical for starting to think about teaching in maybe a different way than you have until now.
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All right, let's dive in and get started!
What I love about this book is that the author has been a teacher, a principle, a school Superintendent, and an adjunct professor in education, and the practical ways that she talks about how to handle difficult parents shows me that she really does understand what it's like interacting with parents in today's schools.
She’s very familiar about the struggles that new teachers typically have, and one of the things that she talks about is how unprepared teachers are to work with difficult parents. She explains that despite the training that new teachers get in college, they are just not taught the skills they need need to handle the demands of some of today's parents.
Filled with witty, funny, practical wisdom and advice and examples of real conversations that new teachers can model in their interactions with difficult parents, this is a must-read for new or veteran teachers alike!
You may be familiar with Wong & Wong's other very popular book for new teachers, “The First Days of School.” Well, they have a second book and it's a focus specifically all about - you guessed it - classroom management.
What I love about this book is that it gets to the heart of what you can and should do at the beginning of the school year to set yourself up for success throughout the entire year.
If you've been following me for awhile now, and especially if you are part of the R.E.A.D.Y. for school Academy, you know that I'm all about what you do during the summer to set yourself up for success throughout the entire school year.
One of the ways that you can do that is by getting super clear about what your routines and procedures and expectations will be in your new classroom. What's great about this book is that they do give you very specific examples for different types of routines (they call them procedures) that you can have inside your classroom.
One section that may be especially helpful for you and for this time in our history is that they give procedures for how to help when there's a death of a student, when you have a particularly angry student, and when students are dealing with the death of a parent.
The third book I want to share with you today and that I recommend you read over the summer is not a book about teaching specifically. It’s a personal development book that can give you an empowering framework for how to think about challenges when they come up as an educator and as we engage in the practice to become the teacher we've always dreamed of becoming.
I've mentioned this book before in my Beginning Teacher Training Series of the Year that I held in May, so if you participated in that series, I talked about it in Training #4 of that series when I talked about how to become more confident as a new teacher.
Now, I want to warn you that Marie Forleo is a Jersey girl who likes to generously use some words that you may not find appropriate. Sometimes I find it a little distracting, but I also accept that this is just who she is.
If you know anything about Marie Forleo, you know that she is a powerhouse of a woman, she came from very humble beginnings and she created an incredible online business and is an inspiration to women all around the entire world.
She has been featured on Oprah’s Supersoul Sessions and in the personal development space for more than two decades now.
So, I do overlook the words that I typically would not use myself because it's her being authentically who she is. She speaks truth, and you can feel it. I think she's so easy to love, she's so honest, and her advice is so good and so basic and golden at the same time that I think you're going to really enjoy the message inside this book.
If I had a daughter - and I really consider you all my daughters now some way - I would lovingly demand that she read this book in high school... and every year after that until she developed the bulletproof mindset that Marie Forleo has in terms of that undeniable truth that everything – well, almost everything - is figureoutable.
I think that if we truly embraced that mindset more in teaching, we would spend a lot more of our time feeling empowered and positive than we currently sometimes do.
To get a little taste of Marie and what she's like, this 22 minute excerpt from Super Soul Sunday is definitely worth your time:
I hope that this episode is helpful for you as you consider which books to dedicate some precious time to this summer. And, if you have other fantastic book suggestions, be sure to leave your comment below, or join our Facebook group to continue the conversation!
Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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