10 Things I've Learned From Teaching...... - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

10 Things I've Learned From Teaching......

I'm excited to link up with Miss Kindergarten for this fun linky!
But FIRST, I have to let everyone know....I am now on instagram! Yup. That's right. I caved. Lord, help me. I'll never get off my phone now! Go follow me @ideasbyjivey! You won't find many pictures... yet. But I promise they are coming!! Let me know your favorite apps you use to make your pictures cute cute cute! Because I LOVE cute. :) And of course, let me know your username so I can follow you!

Ok, onto the linky!

There are so many things I've learned from teaching, honestly. I'm going to start with what I think should truly be #1, and then the others will come in no particular order of importance. :)

#1 - Do what you KNOW is best for your students. I know this sounds like a "duh," but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to get caught up in what everyone else on your grade level is doing (or on a blog, or on TPT), but might not be right for your own kids. You are the expert in your classroom!! Sometimes, I just have to tell myself, "shut the door and teach."

#2 - Humor is a great teaching strategy. Example: When I taught first grade, it never failed... someone spelled "put" like "foot" because they rhyme. All I had to do was tell them we don't "poot" on our papers, and they never misspelled it again! And they laughed and laughed and laughed. :)  On that note... Kids will be kids. They think words like, "but" and "nuts" are funny (even when you aren't talking about a butt or... well you get it). They think it's hilarious if you have to spell something that has a double-p or a double-t aloud. Just roll your eyes and keep moving along! :)

#3 - The students who make you want to pull your hair out are the ones you just have to remind yourself to love. Every day. Maybe every minute. :-P When we got in this profession, we knew we would not get to "choose" our students. We agreed to love any and all students that walk in that door. But a reminder never hurts. Time-out in another room doesn't either. ;-)

#4 - Classroom Management Is Key. That would be the title of my book if I ever wrote one. Setting expectations on DAY ONE and staying consistent all year is so important. And sadly, we were never "taught" this in our college classes. In fact, there are a lot of things I wish they'd teach us, but then again, I guess the only way to learn those things are with experience! But I think one thing they SHOULD teach us when it comes to classroom management is that the best plans are ones that don't just punish for negative behaviors. This was how I started my plan when I first started teaching, and I noticed I was only ever saying names for bad behaviors. My mentor swooped in and told me, "kids are looking for attention. They don't care if it's positive or negative! Rewarding students for the positive, though, will make those kids who generally receive negative think twice about their behavior." I changed my management plan right then and never looked back. Will you still have "those kids?" Of course. But I AM A HAPPIER TEACHER because I look for the good instead of the bad!!

#5 - Parents can make or break your school year. Get them on your side!! I like to follow the compliment sandwich rule in conferences - (positive) (concern) (positive). I also like to send something home in the first week of school praising something their child did that week!

#6 - Pick your battles. I'm still working on this one. Students, parents, administrators, fellow teachers... some things you are very passionate about just aren't valuable to others. Don't let that devalue you, though. I really and truly am working hard on this one. Some things I feel are so important just aren't to others! It doesn't help that I'm outspoken. At least I know this about myself, right? I promise to do better this year, though. :)

#7 - Be realistic about grading. I can't tell you how many times a week I carry my school bag home full of papers, and there it sits on the floor until I walk out with it again the next morning. I do a lot of work at home, don't get me wrong. But you know when you just aren't in the mood. Save your back some strain. Or even better- grade one stack before you leave school. You feel good that you accomplished something, and you can leave the rest! :)

#8 - Vent. No one likes a constant complainer, I know. But if you keep all of it bottled up, it makes a not-very-nice teacher. Find someone who will listen, and who will vent back. But just remember, that can't be the only conversation you have! Share positive stories, too!

#9 - Don't reinvent the wheel. There are SO MANY great resources out there, some free, and some not. Don't spend every waking minute creating or thinking up lesson ideas. I AM THE FIRST TO ADMIT- I am the worst at this. Hello, my name is Jivey, and I am a control-freak. Wow, that sounds awful when I say it out loud. But come on... admit it. You are, too. We didn't become teachers without having a little need to control! Anyway, I'm not saying don't ever create. I'm saying, COLLABORATE. There are many ways to do this. With your grade level of course, but also through blogging! I have gotten some of my best lessons from teachers who share their ideas on blogs. Freebies on TPT are wonderful, too- you don't always have to search for paid products! Just don't forget to leave feedback. ;-)

#10 - Maybe this last tip should be tied with #1 actually, because it's pretty darn important. Make learning FUN. You know the feeling of sitting in an inservice, totally bored because the presenter reads every slide, never lets you talk or get up and move around... don't do that to your kids!! Let the kids TALK and SHARE with each other. That's actually proven to be the best way for students to learn! A quiet room is a boring room. And make them move! Those kids who never sit still will thank you. :)

I hope you were able to learn something from these tips- or maybe they were just good reminders to you as you prepare for your next school year! :)


  1. "Just roll your eyes and keep on moving." HA! No truer words were spoken. You are so right! I always say "Ok, are we over it now?" Then I plow on. 4th graders are still so immature that way...

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  2. Great tips! Many parents "broke" me last year along with their children, first time in 8 years. Great reminders for the upcoming school year!

    Hope you link up to my "Time Travel Tuesday" linky :)

    I {Heart} Recess

  3. Parents can break your heart and spirit. The day I realized I wasn't going to please everyone was a huge breakthrough. As long as you are trying your hardest, that's all you can ask. Wonderful post! thank you!

  4. I love your list and agree with you 100%. Sometimes number 1 is hard when administrators keep giving you new things to do, some that make no sense or are in direct conflict of other directives they have given. Thanks for sharing this list, great things to think about before heading back to the classroom.

  5. I love it! Great reminders as we gear up for a new year. My favorite is number 10--getting kids up and moving is good for the soul!



  6. Wow...#9 is definitely me! It has taken me so long to realize that I don't have to think of something truly spectacular for each lesson...someone out there has already done it! I have also learned (via my blog "friends"!) how important it is to leave feedback...especially for the free stuff :) #5 - parents...I have finally learned I can't please them all...but I do try!

  7. FINALLY you are on Instagram! :) I just followed you so you will see my request. You need to dl A Beautiful Mess. Such a fun picture app! Great top ten, spoken from the heart. I am about to write mine!
    Pinkadots Elementary

  8. Great tips, Jivey! I was able to relate to every since one of those and for once it's great to hear that other teachers feel the same way that I do even when we're miles apart!

    Turtley Loving Teaching

  9. Love, love, love your tips! These are all so very important!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  10. You had me cracking up on #5 with the sandwich example!! LOVE it! :D

    Sailing into Second

  11. All great pieces of advice! All of these hit home for me, but I love #1 especially too.

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

  12. Great tips! I agree with every single one of them! And... welcome to the wonderful world of instagram! :)

    Eclectic Educating

  13. I loved reading this! your tips are amazing! I am an instagrammer too! There are sooooo many different apps to cutify photos... I have a whole folder on my iphone full of them.... PIP Camera is awesome... Photo Collage, PicsArt, PicStitch, Instatext, and my favorite Timer Cam... it simply takes the photo with a timer... but I love it cause i can now take better selfies!


  14. Thanks for all of the tips! I'll have to keep these things in mind as I go into my full-time student teaching year of college! :)

    Glitter and Gradebooks

  15. Love your great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Cowgills Corner

  16. Great tips! I especially like the one about kids having a sense of humor. They find the strangest things funny...

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  17. Fabulous tips! Perfect timing as I am starting to reflect on this past year as I prepare for the coming one. I definitely need to work on #7. As the year progresses my bag gets heavier and heavier. I really need to pick at least one day a week to just leave it at school. Great post!

    Quinnessential lessons

  18. Holy #6! THAT is what I need to work on! I'm outspoken...a lot. But it's ALWAYS for a good reason...but i really need to pick and choose. I worked on it last year....
    I agree with all of yours!

  19. I've never heard it said so simply, SHUT THE DOOR AND TEACH! I love it! I do it, but I love your wording! Thank you for the validation! Almost as good as Roll your eyes and move on...! I may just use that with my teenagers! :)

  20. Great tips! And welcome to instagram. I'm going to follow you right now!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
    Follow me on Facebook!

  21. I could NOT agree more with these! You nailed this one. Triple Like!! :-)


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