Lessons I learned my first year teaching

This is a culmination of the best advice or the best lessons I learned last year. Hopefully, it can help someone out there.

1: Get your mentor’s files! Do not reinvent the wheel. Get their entire computer drive on a flash drive. This way you have worksheets, PowerPoints, and centers for small lessons like commas or teaching colors. I spent so much time Googling when really my mentor already had great files that I could have used. This would have saved me so much time.

2: Google Drive. Put those files on Google Drive so you can easily flip through them, or organize them. I organized our files for the curriculum and shared  it with my other teachers. It made my life SO much easier and made it easier for us to share resources.

3: When your school building closes, you close. As a new teacher, you want to work all the time. It leads to burnout and to you being so much more stressed than you need to be. Please, try to leave work at work when possible. I know it’s hard and I was guilty of taking work home, but try to respect that it will still be there tomorrow. Not everything has to get done all at once. You and your kids will have a better day because you will be happier and well-rested for them.

4: Don’t compare your unedited footage to someone else’s highlight reel. You see that teacher in the hall whose class looks perfect. It’s okay if that’s not you. They have had years of footage that you haven’t seen. They have closed doors in their classroom that you don’t see. Don’t think every teacher has it together but you. We all have our days and we all had our first-year.

5: Make an I Am Special folder. This is for the days when that parent emails you or when you just can’t get through to a child. Fill this folder with good notes from kids, drawings, positive evaluations, or funny stories the kids wrote. I covered the wall behind my desk with kids’ drawings and loved looking up to see “Miss Romm is the best!”

6: Self-care. It can be so easy to forget yourself when you teach and you could honestly live at the job. Take time to run, do yoga, cook, or whatever makes you happy. Don’t neglect yourself and your personal journey.


And above all, be sure to enjoy it. On those days when you just can’t function anymore and a kid does something completely hilarious, laugh. On those days when your personal life isn’t what you want it to be and a kid hugs you, embrace it. On the days when the stressed out from all the state mandates or testing, breathe and remember—these 21 little people will never forget you and you will never forget them. Enjoy your year!


Summer 2016 and Sylvan Learning

What a summer. From finishing up teaching, to moving to Raleigh for Duke TiP, and then to starting work with Sylvan Learning in Nags Head. Raleigh held so many adventures for me. I visited a dam, went to Chick Fillet’s Cow Appreciation Day, attended a political rally, and went to an arcade. I loved running around Raleigh on all the different trails.

Sylvan Learning in Nags Head was another great part of the summer. I worked at their satellite office and got to teach elementary school reading and SAT Math and Reading. What I loved about Sylvan was how individualized it was for the students and how it really worked to hit their strengths. I liked the one-on-one approach and the different lessons and games. As a teacher, it allowed me to use some of what I taught in my classroom while learning new ideas for what I would teach. The SAT Math and Reading allowed me to keep those skills active and to learn new skills. I also loved being able to go to the beach or pool after work though, I won’t lie!

Up next on this crazy adventure: Sylvan in Williamsburg has hired me! I’ll be teaching STEM in the local schools and SAT Reading for them in October. For now, I’ll be tutoring students in reading at the center and working on my masters at William & Mary. Life is a crazy ride, but I am so thankful for all the opportunities I’m given and for how hard I work. I already miss teaching with my whole heart but I am so thankful for the experience I had.