• How Teachers Can Survive a School Year with Difficult Parents

    How Teachers Can Survive a School Year with Difficult Parents

    How Teachers Can Survive a School Year with Difficult Parents

    Here and there, you’ll have those parents that give you a hard time. Sometimes they have a reputation of being difficult, and other times your personalities don’t match. One thing we have to keep in mind is, we are in the customer service business. Most parents aren’t out to make our school year miserable; they want what is best for their children. Many times we let miscommunication or misunderstandings ruin our partnerships with parents (I’m guilty of this too). If you’re having a rough time this school year with a parent, check out these tips to make the rest of the year better.

    Be Positive

    Although this parent may not be your favorite person to talk to, you still should make each conversation a positive one. If this is a parent of a child with discipline issues, compliment the student on their appropriate behavior frequently, no matter how small. This way, the parent doesn’t feel like you only want to speak to them when their child is misbehaving.

    Also, leave the last conversation behind, especially if it wasn’t positive. Recently I’ve had a not so pleasant conversation with a parent, we didn’t agree on our issue, but I made sure our next interaction was positive.

    While we are human, and parents may do things that upset us, we should try to make each interaction with parents as pleasant as possible.

    Document Your Communication

    Once I realize a parent is going continuously to give me a hard time, I only communicate with them via email or a communication app. I don’t call or talk to the parent face to face alone. I want proof and documentation of our interactions. Documenting your conversations saves you from the he said she said drama.

    For example, I had a parent tell the principal that I didn’t let them know that I was having issues with their child. The parent forgot that I was using an app to keep her updated about her son. So, when I showed the principal that I was communicating about the student’s bad days, I also had proof that I reached out to her on good days. My principal could also see that the parent had responded to all the messages. Although I had a supportive principal, this was proof that the parent wasn’t honest.

    Keep in mind, if you’re using email or an app as a way to document parent communication, the documentation goes both ways. Make sure you keep it professional. I highly recommend using a parent communication app to communicate with all parents, grab my Free Parent Communication Cheat Sheet to help get you started.

    Speaking with parents about their children can be intimidating. But, we all know that when teachers and parents work together, the students are more successful. This cheat sheet will help you build relationships and increase students' growth. You won't have any issues regularly communicating with parents! Grab your cheat sheet and increase parent engagement this school year!

    Let it Go

    They’ll be some school years when you get parents that don’t like you. As long it is not every single year, let it go. If you have parents who aren’t fond of you every year, then you may need to do some reflection. But, I think it is normal for every few years you have a parent that complains to the office about you.

    We all are different, so it is normal for other adults not to like us. You can’t please everyone, and as long as you’re being respectful and doing what’s best for your students, don’t let their opinions bother you. I know it is easier said than done, but you are the expert in your classroom. Your energy should be spent on building relationships with your students, as your relationships with your students grow, your relationships with their parents will grow too.

    Having a problematic parent can make our challenging job even more challenging. The thing you should keep in mind when dealing with challenging parents is that unless you loop with the students, your time with the parent will end in just a few short months!

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  • 3 Reasons Why Unhappy Teachers Don’t Leave Their Schools

    3 Reasons Why Unhappy Teachers Don't Leave Their Schools

    3 Reasons Why Unhappy Teachers Don't Leave Their Schools

    I believe there are three reasons why some teachers who don’t like their school won’t leave. If you’re here, then you’re probably one of the two I can help. The other type of teacher isn’t ready to find a way out.

    Check out some reasons why unhappy teachers don’t leave their schools and then grab my free tools to help you get ready for the search.

    They Think they don’t have time to Search for a New Job

    I used to dread looking for a new job. After a long day at school, the last thing I wanted to do was update my resume and fill out applications. There is a lot of work to do, and it is usually during the busiest time of year for us when positions begin opening up. Going home and doing more work isn’t appealing.

    The problem is unless you do the work, you’ll be stuck in the same miserable place next year. You do have the time to get prepared for your search. You have to make some sacrifices and make it a priority.

    In my blog post, HOW TEACHERS CAN PREPARE FOR THEIR JOB SEARCH IN 7 DAYS OR LESS I give you tips to make the application process less cumbersome.

    They’re Scared of Change

    I’ve seen so many strong, amazing, and marketable teachers get stuck at schools that they hate because they are afraid of change. I’ve seen and heard every excuse of why some teachers won’t leave a school that is making them unhappy.

    Many teachers are fearful that they can end up at a school that is the same or worse than their current school. It’s the same reason why some people stay in bad relationships. They rather have someone, even if they mistreat them then be alone. These teachers will sacrifice their happiness for fear.

    What these teachers don’t know is they are now an expert on what schools shouldn’t do. These teachers probably have perfect solutions to problems that many other schools have, and they could use those skills somewhere they’d be appreciated. These teachers are usually some of the best teachers on campus. Many unhappy teachers thrive when they find a school that values them.

    They’re Okay with Being Unhappy

    Remember, I said there is one group of teachers that I can’t help? These are the teachers. I’m sure you’ve met a teacher or two that complains non-stop about your school but has been there for years. They’ve watched the district change. They’ve seen principals and teachers come and go.

    Guys, these teachers aren’t going anywhere. There are some miserable people out there, and some of them are in classrooms. Yes, there are different reasons why some teachers may be unhappy. Depression is real. But, I’m talking about the educators who will take being unhappy over finding something better.

    Some of these teachers don’t leave because they know most schools wouldn’t tolerate their nonsense. They know they’re able to get away with things they couldn’t anywhere else. These are the toxic teachers you don’t want to be near.

    I’m hoping that you are the teacher that is overwhelmed and thinks they don’t have time to apply to schools, or you are the scared teacher. If you’re one of those teachers, I can help you land your dream job. Check out the resources and blog posts below!


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  • How Teachers Can Prepare for Their Job Search in 7 Days or Less

    How Teachers Can Prepare For Their Job Search in 7 Days or Less.

    How Teachers Can Prepare For Their Job Search in 7 Days or Less.

    I’m going to keep this intro short and sweet because you have work to do! Applying to schools is a lot of work. Follow the steps below to make it happen seven days or less!

    Day 1-2: Update Your Resume

    Updating your resume is one of the most time consuming things you will need to do, but we know it is necessary. Your resume is the key to getting you hired at your dream job!

    Follow these steps:

    • Add your current position.
    • Add details about your current position that makes it different from past positions. 
    • Write your current position in the present tense.
    • Write your older positions in the past tense.
    • Remove extra information to keep your resume one-page front and back.

    Day 3: Create Your Statement About Education

    Most districts want you to write a statement on your beliefs about education. Some applications will call it a personal statement; others call it your pedagogy about education. I’m sure there are other names, but they are all pretty much the same thing.

    I can’t tell you what to write, but I suggest you find the district’s vision or mission statement and align it with your beliefs.

    Day 4: Create a Generic Cover Letter

    A lot of districts make this optional, but I always submit one. Maybe having a cover letter makes a principal call a candidate who has a cover letter over the one who doesn’t.

    Think of a cover letter as another opportunity to flaunt your skills. Don’t make it optional, make this a priority! 

    Include your strengths and what makes you unique. You can add specific details to it later if you want to customize it for different schools.

    VIrtual Interview Checklist & Organizer for Teachers

    Day 5: Collect Your References/Past Employer’s Contact Information

    Collecting contact information is one of the most tedious things to do. Save yourself some time and write down all the names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses you need. You’ll need contact information for your references, current, and past jobs. Put them on a Google Doc so that you can copy and paste their information.

    Day 6: Proof Read & Edit Your Work

    It’s been a few days since you updated your resume, crafted your statement about education, and created your cover letter. Take this day to make sure there are no errors. 

    Day 7: Begin Applying to schools 

    You’re ready! It’s time to get your dream job! For more tips and resources, grab the How to Land Your Dream Teaching Job Workbook.

    Applying to schools is hard work, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be ready to apply to new positions in a week! Check out the resources below for more tips and tools on how to land your dream job!



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  • How Teachers Can Build Their Confidence During Their Job Search

    How Teachers Can Build Their Confidence During Their Job Search

    How Teachers Can Build Their Confidence During Their Job Search

    One year I felt so defeated, I forgot my value as a teacher. Feeling this way was the opposite of how I should have felt at the beginning of my job search.

    The hiring process is all about selling yourself. To sell yourself effectively, you have to be confident. No one wants to hire someone unsure of themselves. No matter why you’re in the market for a new position, you have to search for your new job with confidence. Here are some things I did to help build myself up again!

    Write Down Your Strengths

    One of my strengths has always been classroom management. I do an excellent job of keeping behavior issues to a minimum. A few years into teaching, guided reading became another strength of mine, I enjoy being able to fill in student gaps. I think every few years, I add something to my list. I think I’m pretty good at other things, but these are things that I can do in my sleep.

    If you’re struggling with recognizing your strengths, look over your last observation. I can almost guarantee your appraiser complimented your strengths in your evaluations. When you’re in your interviews or writing cover letters, these are things you want to mention.

    Free Teacher Interview Cheat Sheet

    Write Down How You’ve Improved

    I was not a good teacher my first year. I worked hard, probably too much. I didn’t know what I was doing. Tasks that took me days to do would take me hours to do now. I have improved in so many areas, and I sometimes laugh at how bad I was during my first few years.

    Being reflective and seeing how much you have grown, shows you in black and white, that you are better than you were before. A lot of times, where you see the most growth becomes a strength.

    When you’re in an interview, you can share how you overcame obstacles or how you’re always trying to improve your craft. Sure, somethings still may need some improvement, but you’re heading in the right direction.

    Write Down What Makes You Unique

    At one point in my career, I was really into technology. I wanted to learn how to integrate technology so much I searched for as many trainings as I could to become an expert. I became a Google Certified Educator (I think it’s expired now) and an Apple Teacher. I showed that I was passionate about technology integration, and this is what made a lot of schools interested in me.

    What do you do in your classroom that shows your creativity and passion? What do you do that makes your students love coming to your class? The answers to those questions are what make you unique.

    Get out your notebooks and get ready to write all about why you are an amazing teacher. Whatever the reason why you’re looking for a job, remember that you have value and experience that isn’t like anyone else. Use what you write down and make them selling points when you go to your interview!

    If you’re looking for more ways to build your confidence and prepare for your job search, check out my How to Land Your Dream Teaching Job Workbook, it includes tips and tools to help you become fully prepared to find your dream job!


    How to Land Your Dream Teaching Job Workbook

    The Free Mock Lesson Preparation Guide

    The Free Teacher Interview Cheat Sheet


    How Teachers Can Rock Their Mock Lessons

    3 Ways Teachers Can Prepare to Change Schools

    3 Reasons Why Teachers Should Attend Job Fairs

  • 3 Reasons Why Teachers Should Attend Job Fairs

    3 Reasons Why Teachers Should Attend Job Fairs

    3 Reasons Why Teachers Should Attend Job Fairs

    I can’t be the only teacher that loves job fairs! I’ve never gotten a job at a fair, but they have always given me opportunities to get my next position. Think about this; a lot of people hate the job-hunting process. Why? Because a lot of people aren’t confident during their search. If you practice something long enough, you become better. You should have that mindset when searching for a new job. The only way you’ll perform strongly at your interviews is if you practice. Job fairs are the perfect opportunity to get better.

    It is an Opportunity to Practice Your Interviewing Skills

    How often is it appropriate to talk about yourself for an entire conversation? Lol. Well, guess where you can do it? At a job fair! Most of us enjoy talking about ourselves and duh… that’s what job fairs and interviews are all about, selling yourself. I think it is safe to say that most of the people you talk to aren’t interested in hiring you. So, use this as an opportunity to build your confidence and make yourself more comfortable answering interview questions. Listen to the questions they ask, write them down, and work on answers that will show your strengths. If you need further help preparing for your interview, grab my free Virtual Interview Checklist.

    It is an Opportunity to Vet School Districts & Schools

    During my last job hunt, I was only interested in two school districts. At the time, both districts were (and still are) the highest paying districts in the Dallas area.
    When I met with representatives from my current district, I got a great vibe. The administrators were friendly and interested in getting to know me, I felt super encouraged to keep in touch with them after the fair.

    When I visited the other district, I got the complete opposite feeling. I didn’t feel welcomed. I didn’t feel like they were interested in me. I didn’t like their representatives. I knew after that job fair that they were no longer an option for me. So, I stopped pursuing them.

    I could only imagine how much time I would have wasted trying to get interviews with that district if I haven’t gone to the fair. Once I found out that the district wasn’t for me, it saved me so much time and energy. I spent the rest of my search focused on the other district.  I was even able to narrow down exactly the schools where I wanted to work! Believe it or not, I was hired at one of the schools of my choice. I

    f you want to learn how I picked my dream school, Check out my How to Land Your Dream Job Guide. I outline and everything I did in the guide so that you can find the teaching job of your dreams!

    VIrtual Interview Checklist & Organizer for Teachers
    It is an Opportunity to Get a Job (Obviously)

    Some people expect to walk into a job fair and snag a job on the spot. I would feel leery if a school hired me after speaking with me for 15 minutes now (that’s another story). I think a job fair is a way to build a relationship with administrators. The secret to finding success at a job fair is what you do after the fair. Principals meet with so many people at job fairs, and you’ll need a way to stand out.

    If you got a good feeling or had a good conversation with a principal follow up immediately. If they were equally interested, you’ll get an opportunity to meet with them at their school, and this will give you better chance of landing the job.

    Don’t dread your next job fair! Use it as an opportunity to practice your interviewing skills! You should leave the fair more confident than when you arrived. Use this experience also to see if you will mesh well with the schools you think will be a good match. On paper, some schools and districts seem like a good fit. When you meet with them, you’ll either change your mind or continue pursuing them. I’ve never been offered a job at a job fair, but I have had additional interviews that led to employment with the district of my choice.


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  • How Teachers Can Rock Their Mock Lessons

    How Teachers Can Rock Their Mock Lessons

    How Teachers Can Rock Their Mock Lessons

    In 2018, I was looking for a new job. Although it had only been a few years since my last interview, I felt like the interview process had become more intense. Several schools wanted multiple interviews and something new for me, a mock lesson. Some schools allowed me to do a lesson of my choice, while others made me choose or do a specific lesson that the school wanted.

    I realized then that the interview process wasn’t going to be as easy as it had been in the past. If you’re here, then you can probably relate. In this blog post, I want to give you some quick tips on how to make sure your mock lesson will be the bomb! For more tips, check out my freebie, The Mock Lesson Preparation Guide.

    Have Two Lessons Ready

    If you’re lucky, the administrator will let you pick the lesson you want to teach. Just in case, have two go-to lessons that you can present. Pick lessons that will show your strengths. If you’re better at teaching decimals than fractions, then pick decimals. You want to pick something that is challenging enough for the students and something you understand enough to break it down and explain it even deeper if needed.

    My mock lessons have never been longer than 15 minutes, so pick something that is at least 15 minutes. Later, shorten them or extend them if you get time constraints.

    Use Manipulatives & Props

    Even if you don’t get to pick the lesson you’ll teach, make sure you make it as engaging as possible. If you’re applying for math positions, keep counters, clocks, fraction strips, etc. on deck. For reading, make sure you have tools you can use, too, like graphic organizers, books, whiteboards, etc. Have all these things handy, so if a school wants you to present a lesson, you’ll have what you need to make your presentation more engaging.

    Get tips and a mock lesson outline to help you prepare for your interview.

    Have a Reteach and Extension Activity Planned

    After your lesson, your interview panel is more than likely going to ask, “what will you do with the students who didn’t get it and those that did?” If you want to stand out, create activities that you would do to meet the needs of all students, and be prepared to share it with the panel.

    So, you could use a choice menu as an extension for the learners who mastered that objective. Come up with a small group activity to reteach the objectives to the students who did not meet mastery. Make sure your reteach activity is different than the lesson you presented!

    The interview panel probably won’t expect you to have additional learning experiences planned and ready to present. Going this extra mile shows that you’ve taken the time to prepare, and that differentiation is essential in your classroom.

    Mock lessons can be intimidating if you aren’t ready. Even if you don’t get to pick what you’ll present, there are ways you can still prepare. The Mock Lesson Guide gives more tips to help you develop what you need for this portion of the interview. In my experience, I am more confident during my interview if I’m as prepared as possible! Get your free guide now!



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  • 3 Ways Teachers Can Prepare to Change Schools

    Learn three ways teachers can prepare themselves to change schools. #teachingjobs #teacherinterview #teacherresume #teacherportfolio

    Learn three ways teachers can prepare themselves to change schools. #teachingjobs #teacherinterview #teacherresume #teacherportfolio

    At some point, most of us will decide to leave our current school. It could be on good terms or bad; either way, preparing for your new position sooner than later will put you in a great place when it is time for you to start applying to schools. To be a top candidate, you need to have a few things on hand to stand out and to show the interview panel how awesome you are. Check out the three things you can do right now to prepare for your transition. 

    Save Your Evaluations

    Your classroom observations are an excellent way to show that you’re an effective teacher. When you go to interviews, you can use them as evidence to show what you do in class works. The interview panel will more likely think you. For your weaknesses or grows, explain how what you’ve done to turn them into strengths. For example, if one of your evaluations said that you need to differentiate your instruction. Show what you’ve done to improve your grows.

    How to Land Your Dream Teaching Job Workbook. Start preparing to leave your school now using these tips and resources. #teacherjob #teacherinterview #teacherportfolio #teacherresume

    Save Your Data

    In interviews, I would tell the principals how growing students was a strength of mine. I would say to them how I would get them to grow and how long it took, but I didn’t have proof. During my last job search, I brought my data with me to interviews, and it made me more confident and credible. When you print off your data, remove student identifiers, you want to keep your students’ personal information confidential.

    Save Your Lesson Plans

    Nowadays, many administrators want teachers to deliver a mock lesson to give them an idea of their teaching ability. Some schools let you pick the lesson you want to teach. So, it is essential to keep a handful of lessons that you can present to the interview panel. They should be lessons that you can do in your sleep. Pick lessons that are interactive, engaging, and use manipulatives!

    Whether you have months left at your school or weeks, you can start preparing your departure now. Collect your evaluations to show your potential new school your strengths. It is also a great way to show how you take feedback and apply it. Gather your best lesson plans and be prepared to share them. If you get to pick what mock lesson you can present, you will be prepared. Finally, save that data! You worked hard all school year, so show it off!

    Looking for more tips? Grab the How to Land Your Dream Teaching Job Workbook to not only get more tips, but to also get the tools you need to prepare to change jobs. Even if you’re months away from applying to a new position, get started now!


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  • Why it is Important to Meet the Needs of All Students

    Do you want to see more student growth? Do you know how to differentiate your lessons? Do you know why it is important that you differentiate your lessons? Differentiation in your classroom is how you can meet the needs of all your students. Learn why all teachers need to meet the needs of all students Get tips and tools to help you get started with differentiation in your classroom today. #differentiation #differentiate #studentneeds

    Do you want to see more student growth? Do you know how to differentiate your lessons? Do you know why it is important that you differentiate your lessons? Differentiation in your classroom is how you can meet the needs of all your students. Learn why all teachers need to meet the needs of all students Get tips and tools to help you get started with differentiation in your classroom today. #differentiation #differentiate #studentneeds

    Do you make sure you help all of your students each school year? Are there students so low in your class that you think there’s no point? Do you have special education students that you think get all the help they need from the Sped teacher? While I think most of us would answer no to the last two questions, some of us would say yes. I know differentiation is hard work, but if you’re in it for the kiddos, then there’s no other way to teach. There are numerous reasons why meeting the needs of all your students is crucial; here’s my top four.

    It Prevents Students From Falling Behind

    Each year I get students who are behind at least two or three grade levels. Sometimes four. How is this possible? It is because not every teacher is differentiating their instruction. Let’s be honest and real. There’s no way all teachers are differentiating for all their students, and the students are still severely behind. 

    Some of us are doing a great disservice to our kiddos by not giving them what they need. Just one teacher making choice not to meet every student in their classroom’s needs can put that child grade levels behind. Now, making it a situation where their future teachers have to make up for the loss and try to catch them up. Just imagine if this child has two teachers in a row that doesn’t differentiate. This is how students get behind. 

    The only way we can prevent this is meeting students where they are when they arrive in our classrooms.

    It is Best Practice

    The days of spending the whole class period in front of the class lecturing are over. Giving students only one type of instruction does not ensure that all kids are learning. We know all students are different. Not only do students learn differently, but they also have different interests and different personalities. 

    As teachers, we have to understand that and make sure that every student is supported. I’m still surprised when I hear teachers complain about differentiating their lessons or centers. Yes, it is a lot of work meeting each kiddo on their level, but nobody ever said teaching was easy.

    5 Reasons why you should Differentiate your lessons

    It is the Only Way to See Consistent Growth

    We all love to see students grow! If you want to see growth every month, you have to meet students where they are. If you teach 3rd-grade but have kids on a 1st-grade level, when you meet with them during small group, their work should be on a 1st-grade level. The only way they will be successful in 3rd-grade is if they master 1st-grade.  

    Your kiddos that are on grade level or above will take more time to see growth, but those who are below level should be growing much faster. 

    It Benefits the Whole Class

    When students start growing, they become more independent. The closer they get to grade level, the easier things become from them, and depending on how low they were, the less they’ll need extra support from you. 

    For example, one year, I had to write out everything on the board because over half of my students were behind two grade levels. They could barely read, so I had to read instructions everything. Because I was providing so much additional support, we never had time for anything extra. I would use every ounce of time in my schedule on remedial tasks.  

     The next school year was the complete opposite. I was able to give my students extension projects weekly because there were only one or two students who were below grade level. It made my class more engaging. I didn’t feel the pressure of playing the catch-up game. I could spend time expanding on their interests instead of worrying about how I was going to get kids to grow three grade levels in one year. 

    Some of us have to do a better job of meeting our students where they are. Initially, it is incredibly time-consuming to plan your instruction so you can focus on everyone, but once it becomes a habit, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep. If you are an educator resistant to this idea, think about how you would feel if you had a child that needed extra support, and their teachers didn’t want to put in the effort to help them grow. For those differentiating kings and queens, encourage a resistant teammate to do better!

    Check out the Class Goal Setting Guide to help you and your students make tremendous growth this school year!


    Interactive Read Aloud Guide

    Accommodation Tracker

    RTI Intervention Tracker




  • Tips on How Teachers Can Start Over At a New School

    Are you a veteran or experienced teacher starting a new school? Are you wondering how to prepare for the new school year as an experienced teacher? Grab these tips on how to start over at a new school! You are changing schools for a reason, make sure you're off to a great start. #teachertips #veteranteachers #backtoschoolforteachers

    Are you a veteran or experienced teacher starting a new school? Are you wondering how to prepare for the new school year as an experienced teacher? Grab these tips on how to start over at a new school! You are changing schools for a reason, make sure you're off to a great start. #teachertips #veteranteachers #backtoschoolforteachers

    If anybody knows about starting over at a new school, it’s me. When we leave one school to start another, it can be extremely stressful and exciting. What I like about starting over is that everyone is adjusting to a new school year. No school year is exactly the same, so in some way, everyone is starting over. When I think about it that way, I’m less nervous. If you are starting over at a new school this school year, this is your opportunity to make it your best school ever. Starting over is never easy, so I wanted to share some general tips that will help make the transition to a new school much easier!

    Learn Their Way

    I get you’re an experienced teacher, but when you go to someone’s house, you have to play by their rules. Yes, you would maybe do things differently, but you should not just yet. Respect, appreciate, and be okay that things are going to be different. You can’t walk in the door and try to change how your new school does things. In the beginning, you need to learn how to do it their way. I always like to see how one school/district does things differently than my last school. If you are moving to a better school/district, then you should learn a better way to get things done. Remember, you left your old school for a reason, be ready to learn!

    Be Friendly, But Not Too Friendly

    When we start a new school people want to get to know us, and we want to learn about them. This is perfectly fine, just remember to keep it professional. In general, my coworkers don’t know much about my personal life, and I don’t want them to. I have nothing to hide, I just like to keep my work life and personal life separate.

    With that being said, my coworkers still know me. They know I love 90’s music, yoga, traveling, and I like laughing a lot. There is a way where you can be friendly without letting them know your every move outside of the building. Be careful because we know there are those coworkers who will spread your business around to everyone. A red flag is if they tell you extremely personal things about themselves within the first month or so of meeting you. If they do this, trust me, they will tell everybody your business. Until you get the lay of the land, be friendly, but limit conversations about your personal life. Most importantly, if you don’t want it repeated, don’t say it.

    Back to School Guide for Teachers

    Be Confident, Not Cocky

    You got the job because your principal felt that you were the right person for the job. Just remember, you are new and have things that you need to learn. Be confident in your abilities, but don’t be cocky. Nobody likes a know it all. Don’t think that you know more than the teachers who have been at the school for years.

    When I start a new school, I like to show, not tell. I’m really good at differentiating work for my kiddos. Instead of telling everybody how good I am, I make sure that if someone comes into my room, they can quickly tell that my kiddos’ work is differentiated. You know you’re a great teacher, let your work be the messenger.

    Don’t Take on Too Many Roles

    I made this mistake this past school year. I was at a brand new school-district and teaching a new grade. I decided to start an afterschool club shortly after the school year started. In my head, it sounded like a great idea. But, it turned out to be a disaster. I was exhausted, and it wasn’t fun. I was soon dreading the days that I had the club because I just wanted to go home. Instead of spending some time preparing for the next day in the afternoon, I was coming in early to get stuff done. Eventually, I ended the club because it was too much. I should have gotten used to everything before adding more to my plate. I put way more stress on myself than I had to. Don’t be like me. Take it easy until you have everything figured out!

    Keep it Positive

    For most of us, we are making a choice to start over at a new school, so go into it with a positive mindset. Know that no school is perfect. Handle its imperfections with grace. If you see a problem, think of a solution, but don’t complain. You don’t want to be known as the new teacher with a bad attitude.

    The hardest part about coming into a new school is that you will be surrounded by people who don’t know how good they have it. They will complain, let them. Don’t get sucked in that pool of negativity. I have this issue every time I change schools. There are always those teachers that complain about everything. It is annoying. They don’t get how much energy it takes to fight off the negative vibe that they bring in the building daily. I had a teacher ask me one day, why was I so happy? It was 7 am ya’ll, I was so confused. Some of us will never understand those people who make a choice to be in a bad mood. Stay strong and keep it positive.

    Changing schools can be stressful at first. Be willing to learn the ropes, show your administration why they hired you, don’t take on too many roles, and stay positive. You will shine this school year if you work hard and have an open mind. Check out my FREE Back to School Guide to get prepared for this brand new year! Let me know how you adjust to a new school in the comments below!

  • 4 Reasons Why All Elementary Reading Teachers Should Use Raz-Kids

    Are you using Raz-Kids in your classroom? Did you know it is an easy way to differentiate your reading block? Learn why all elementary teachers should use Raz-Kids in their classrooms today! #razkids #differentiation #differentiatedcenters #teachertips #teacherresources

    Are you using Raz-Kids in your classroom? Did you know it is an easy way to differentiate your reading block? Learn why all elementary teachers should use Raz-Kids in their classrooms today! #razkids #differentiation #differentiatedcenters #teachertips #teacherresources

    What if I told you there was an easy way to do running records every two weeks? What if I told you there’s a tool that can help you document student progress? Are you looking for a simple way to differentiate your centers? Do you want to make sure your students are reading books at home that will help them grow?

    Guys, there is one resource that does it all. Raz-Kids. We have all used those printable books from Reading A-Z, but have you tried their digital product? I first found out about Raz-Kids from another teacher, and once I activated my free trial, I was hooked. Then I was shocked that more teachers weren’t using it. My district did not have the program, so I bought it. Currently, you can purchase it for $110. I know it sounds pricey, but tally up how much stuff you buy from TPT every year that you only use once? Think about the pizza, snacks, and rewards you purchase? We can easily spend $110. Buying a Raz-Kids license was hands down the best purchase I made the whole school year. I used it every day, the entire school year, and my students loved it!!! Luckily my new district has a license for Raz-Kids, but if they ever decide to get rid of it, I definitely will purchase it on my own. It is seriously that good. Check out the reasons why you should start using Raz-Kids now!

    It is an Easy Way to Do Running Records

    Raise your hand if you enjoy doing running records? I imagine nobody raised their hands. Who has time to stop small group or guided reading to test students? I know I don’t. A lot of us know when our students are making progress and know when it is time to move them up levels, but a lot of schools want documentation. 

    With Raz-Kids, all you have to do is assign them a running record, and the kiddos can complete it on their own. Each student has an account, and when they sign in, their running record is waiting for them. Once the kiddo clicks to complete the assessment, it starts recording. The student reads the passage out loud while it records what they say. Once the kiddo is done, it will ask them to summarize the story while it records their response. Lastly, they’ll answer a few questions that will check their comprehension of the story. Once the student hits done, their work gets sent to you. 

    Now you have their running record! You can check it when you have time. I listen to their running records during my conference time. They have an app you can download on your phone, so you can grade their running record anywhere.

    It is an Easy Way to Document Student Progress

    Not only does Raz-Kids have running records, but it also has digital books. When you first use the website, you will assign your students their reading level and books. Each leveled book has comprehension questions that the students will complete after reading. When they submit their quiz, the results get sent to you, and it breaks down the questions by concepts.

    Maybe Karen got all the inference questions wrong but, missed main idea. So, you can see how they’re doing and what they need more practice on. The program will flag students and let you know if they’ve missed a lot of a concept so that you know they need more practice.

    I like this feature because it’s another for me to see if a student is getting better on specific skills. The results of the quizzes and running records can all be printed off to document student progress.

    It is An Easy Way to Differentiate Instruction

    We are continuously told that we need to make sure we are differentiating instruction and centers. Raz-Kids makes differentiation a breeze. Since each kiddo is assigned their own reading level, they are getting books just for them. Depending on their reading level, the website gives them different tasks.

    Students who are reading at a kindergarten to 4th-grade reading level will have three things they do with their book. They have to read their books twice. During the first read, the program reads the book to the kids. The second read the student does alone, and lastly, the kiddos complete the comprehension quiz. The students who are reading at a higher level don’t get their books read to them. They read their book independently and complete the quiz. Also, their books are significantly longer.

    It is an Easy Way to Grow Students

    Since Raz-Kids makes it easy to give each student what they need, they will grow! Especially your struggling students. Parents of my struggling kiddos always ask me what can they do at home, and I tell them to log in to Raz-Kids. If they log on at home, they are getting more differentiated practice. My students that use Raz-Kids at home grow much faster than those that don’t. 

    A few years ago, I had a third grader who was reading at a first-grade level. They used Raz-Kids at home, and by the end of the year, she was reading on a third-grade reading level. If you use Raz-Kids consistently, your students will grow! The students who are on level or higher get an opportunity to get pushed further too.

    As a reading teacher, this is hands down my favorite supplemental resource to use. You can meet the needs of all of your students by just using this website. Hopefully, your district or school has a license for Raz-Kids. If they don’t, I promise it is worth the purchase. This has made my teaching life so much easier, I don’t have to stop instruction to do running records anymore. My kids are engaged and are getting exactly what they need to help them grow. Most of all, I can still make sure they are getting differentiated instruction when they go home. Has anyone else fallen in love with this website? Let me know in the comments below