As a student teacher, I adored my cooperating teacher. Anyone could tell that she loved teaching and spent a lot of time perfecting her craft.
However, when it came time for me to construct my own classroom, I found myself very, very overwhelmed. What anchor charts do I need? Who will make them? Do glue dots actually work? What resources do I need? What will I teach? How will I teach it?!
After drafting, planning, executing, failing, and drafting again, I learned three things my cooperating teacher forgot to share!
1. Content is important, but tools are more important!
What resources are out there to help your students make those real-world connections? What resources are student-centered and require little to no teacher guidance? The digital world is full of resources that help teachers and students making meaning of the content! Do not be afraid to search for digital assistance. Since you're here, check out Data Depot! It's an awesome resource that enables students to analyze real-world data and polish those critical-thinking skills.
2. You are NOT the first person ever to teach your subject.
Every lesson plan does not have to be built from scratch. Make teacher friends (apply for 2018 Summer Teacher Institute)! Participate in twitter chats. Rummage through Pinterest. Discover lesson plans and teaching strategies written by educators in your field! It's all there. You are just a click away from finding your dream lesson. What will you do with all your free-from-lesson-planning time?!
3. Your professional network should include more than just professionals in your field.
I have only ever known educators to network with other educators. However, a college football player helped me develop an activity for ordering fractions. We push for collaboration in schools, but limit ourselves by collaborating only with others in our field. Be friendly to everyone. You never know when you're entertaining your next project-based learning idea!