Below are seven tips to ensure a successful first year as a bilingual teacher. Felicidades!! You are about to start your first year as a bilingual teacher and you are excited, nervous and feeling a whole bunch of emotions. I have compiled a list of seven tips to ensure a great start to your teaching career.
1. Review your curriculum before the school year starts; so you know what to expect. Have a general sense of the curriculum you’ll be using, and look at your school district’s scope and sequence and write down any questions you may have for your teammate or principal. Also, don’t forget about any standards you are expected to follow.
2. Understand your schools Spanish Immersion or bilingual program model, language expectations and follow them.
Are you supposed to speak Spanish one hundred percent of the time?
Is it a fifty-fifty model?
Are there certain Spanish and English days or times that you should follow?
You most likely will run into some colleagues or other teachers in the building that do not follow those rules or the program model, but you are new and you need to try to uphold the integrity of the program and do your best to follow the guidelines.
3. Treat your school’s secretary, your engineers, your custodians and teacher assistants like gold. These are the people they’re going to save you in bad situations. When there is vomit, when there are boogers, when there is blood or pee; they’ve got you covered. Office staff and bilingual educational assistants will help you need a special school supply; when you need to copy something during the middle of the class. This people often have your back, so treat them like they are God’s gift to earth and give them smiles, props, ‘gracias’ every day. As often as you can, make sure they know that you appreciate them.
4. Your classroom doesn’t need to look Pinterest perfect. Think out your classroom routines and expectations before you color code your classroom and make it llama, cactus and pineapple themed. Although decorations are fun, your classroom routines and expectations will set you up for success. Remember you need to plan out each part of your classroom/day, for example:
How will students line up?
How will student ask to go to the bathroom?
Where will students store their folders or papers?
Will you have communal supplies or students will have individual supplies?
Where will everything be stored?
How will students get those stored items?
What do you expect them to do when working at desks?
Do they need to ask permission to get out of their seat? leave the room?
So just think through those things to ensure that your classroom runs well. And yes your lama theme will be cute, but those routines is what is going to say you up first success.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel. You are new and excited to be teaching. You most likely have tons of ideas running through your head– until you start to realize that often bilingual, Spanish immersion and dual language teachers have to spend a lot of time translating lessons or activities into Spanish and creating resources that’s don’t exist in Spanish. Many bilingual teachers face burn out or feel overworked (ok- let’s face it they are) because they have to do more than many of their monolingual counterparts. If resources and lessons are taking too much of your (precious) time to create— find somewhere to get quality resources. Ahem— May I suggest; Profe Club?!? For less than $1/day you get access to our library of hundreds of Spanish resources for busy Spanish, DI, Bilingual, and immersion teachers.
6. Reach out reach out to your teammates and new team members for advice, ask what is expected of teachers at your school.
-Do you need to have your account statement posted on a wall, on the board, or is it okay to have them on your SmartBoard or Promethean board?
-Do you need to turn in or Email or share your lesson plans with any coach as a principal?
-Will you be planning together with your team teachers? What will planning look like? Will you each take a subject? Will you plan each part of the week together or alone?
-What does home and family communication look like? Is it expected that you’re sending home a weekly note as a grade level team together? Or should you be doing it individually for just your class? Does it need to be on paper or can you send it electronically? Does your school/home communication need to be turned into anyone?– Some schools that receive Federal funding need documentation that they are communicating with families.
7. Be kind and caring, show your co-workers, principal, parents and most importantly your students that you care for them, that you want the best for them and you want them to succeed. It is important to create a strong sense of community to ensure success throughout the school year and your teaching career.
I hope you enjoy these seven tips to get your teaching career off to a great start as a bilingual teacher.