All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching - Katrina Ayres
...and How You Can Avoid Doing It, Too, by Katrina Ayres.
OK - those of us who have been teaching for a while can remember plenty of mistakes we made when we were starting out - all in the name of our inexperience, our excitement and our commitment to our new careers. Even brand new teachers have had enough time in the classroom by the time they have their own students - student teaching, practicums, subbing - to remember a few less than successful moves.
Veteran teacher Katrina Ayres has taken the mistakes she made during her first year of teaching and turned them into a humorous look at all of the ways good teachers can go wrong. All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching...and How You Can Avoid Doing It, Too is open and honest - a quick read that is very enjoyable and not the least bit "preachy"!
Ayres recounts many of her first-year experiences while she was teaching in a school in rural Hawaii on the island of Molokai. What makes this book a great resource is that Ayres not only recounts humorous - and familiar - mistakes, she also includes advice for the new teacher on how to avoid making the same ones. At the end of each chapter, she addresses her "new teacher self" with great tips offered through the lens of an experience.
Ayres conquers many things that the overzealous new teacher may encounter - from overplanning and concentrating more on the glitz than the substance - to discipline, student boredom and the infamous "W" word (how to tell students that they are wrong).
One theme that runs throughout the book is the focus on teaching rather than on the trappings of teaching. Ayres remembers how easily new teachers can be blinded by the creation of beautiful materials, and lose sight of the fact that real teaching involves actual teaching. The message: new teachers should not spend their precious time focusing in all of the cute and pretty materials that aren't essential to the lesson at hand.
She talks about how to keep your "teacher cred," how to handle the overwhelming amount of planning time new teachers face, how to work with colleagues, and the ever-unpredictable nature of kids - especially in school. Ever-appreciative of the help she got along the way, Ayres remembers and thanks the many colleagues, friends and students who helped her out along the way - offering help, guidance, support and as Ayres says, "picked me up, dusted me off, patched me up, and gave me the tools I needed to succeed..."
All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching is an excellent resource for the new teacher, and a fun read for us veterans as well. Read it, laugh, and learn. I'm betting you'll see yourself in many of the situations Ayres describes - and appreciate her candid advice on how to do better the next time.
All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching is available in many eBook formats at
Smashwords, and in paperback at Createspace.
Katrina Ayres has created videos, webinars, and books to help teachers become better at what they do. She can be reached through her website, Positive Teaching Strategies.
Copyright 2013 Irene Taylor. Originally published on December 2, 2012. Permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author of this blog in writing.