Stories and insights on excellent education.
How to Keep It Real in the Classroom
August 16, 2016
Get off to a great start this school year by following the advice of our most successful teachers. We surveyed the 85 Success Academy educators who won the 2016 Excellence Award to find out what advice they wish someone had given them when they started teaching. Got other tips for teachers? Post your thoughts in the comments section.
Find Joy Every Day
Alison Hanson, SA Bronx 1 Middle School
Other than being parents, we have one of the most important jobs in this world. This career is not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to push you to your limits intellectually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. If it's easy, you're not doing it right. Have faith in yourself, find your voice and style in the classroom, stay authentic, ask for help, be humble, admit when you don't know something, and have fun. It will eat you alive if you can't find joy in every single day.
Take Time for Yourself
Kerrie Riley, SA Bronx 1
When I was a student teacher, my mentor teacher passed along some advice that has stuck throughout the years: You're the queen of your classroom. If you're not happy, no one's happy. Take time for yourself so when you come in each morning, you are at peace and ready to take on the day.
Celebrate Small Wins
Emily Weiswasser, SA Bushwick
Make yourself think of at least one notable thing that happened each day. This job will have lots of challenges and tough days, but the little wins are what make it worthwhile and keep you going — don't let those wins go unrecognized!
Get to Know Families
Kathryn Stanley, SA Upper West
Make strong connections with families. They will be your best partners.
Put Kids First
Molly DiPeri, SA Hell’s Kitchen
There will be days that are more challenging than others, but you need to remember why you chose this career and remember that these children depend on us. Thinking about the kids and their achievements always helps me, even on the toughest days.
Never Stop Learning
Brandon Gobourne, SA Harlem 1
To be good at teaching takes time, failure, and reflection. There is no such thing as a teacher who stops learning how to teach.
Allysa Axelband SA Bronx 3 Lower
Laugh every day; kids are hilarious. Get to know and love your colleagues, and think of them as your new intellectual domestic partners. Learn to love feedback — someone is taking the time to make you better! Remember why you became a teacher on those cold winter mornings! And buy some comfortable shoes. Enjoy the journey.
Planning is Everything
Caitlin Rogers, SA Upper West
If you're not over-prepared, you're not prepared.
Give Each Child Individual Attention
Chelsea Eisner, SA Bed Stuy 2
This is the most rewarding job you will ever have in your life! The impact that you are making on the scholars and their families is immeasurable. Although at times the job may seem tough, giving each child the attention he or she deserves will provide a benefit for years to come.
Embrace the Challenge
Aisatou Toure, SA Bronx 3 Lower
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This step is the hardest but the most rewarding. Be prepared for uncomfortable situations and remain optimistic that you will overcome them.
Gary Waiyaki, SA Upper West
Always have an idea of what you want your class to look like and sound like.