- Try hard not to work all the time.
- Take learning risks; for yourself and your students.
- Be a good role model for your students.
and my personal favorite:
- Need no one's permission to postpone a due date or modify an assignment for the benefit of a student.
Any time I've had parents express concern over an assignment, my response is to offer to modify the assignment and to ask what the parent feels the child is capable of doing. This is typically not where the parent was going and usually diffuses a potential confrontation. There are however, times when I've made modifications based on individual needs and it has meant the difference between success and failure for the student.
I'd like to add my own 2 cents to Bud's list; just a few more suggestions. Please add more of your own in the comments.
Eat lunch every day with another adult. Do not eat alone in your classroom while you work. It's important to have some adult time during the day.
- Draw big circles.
Circle items in your plan book that you didn't get to. Get to it the next day. When you rush just to get through something, you're not doing your students any favors.
- Ask and you shall receive.
Build an online Personal Learning Network of colleagues using Classroom 2.0, Facebook or Twitter where you can go, after hours, and share resources and ask for help. Do not add students or parents (current or past - unless they are truly like family to you) to your Facebook friends.
- Beware of The Energy Suckers
You know who they are. The teachers who have nothing nice to say, complain all the time and won't go away? Learn to look at your watch and say, "I have a meeting"or just don't encourage the conversation. It's difficult for one person to carry on a conversation entirely alone when all the other person does is smile and nod their head.
- Enjoy the Autonomy
Having been in the classroom for 26 years and district admin for 5, I can tell you that classroom teachers have a lot of autonomy. Enjoy the fact that you can get a creative idea and implement it the next day if you like. Everyone above you must jump through flaming hoops of red tape in order to move anything forward. Believe me.
- Beg forgiveness
Should you ask permission for everything or beg forgiveness for a few, if any, mistakes? I say, beg forgiveness. Your students will be better off. Just don't be stupid; after all we don't want to read about you in the paper.
- Be realistic
As an elementary teacher, my first day of school motto has always been, "If they get lunch and they get home, the day's been a success!"
Once again, I agree. Share what's going on in your room. Share with us (blog), share with your students in conversation, share with parents, share with colleagues. We can all learn from each other.