Month: July 2016

Quote of the week

Quote of the week

The inspirational Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania has been quoted extensively at my teacher trainings during the last two weeks. She’s that researcher who has everyone talking about “grit!”

Mom’s survival tips for new teachers

Mom’s survival tips for new teachers

I have had help from so many people since I decided to pursue a career in teaching. But my biggest supporter has been my mom, who was a master teacher in Ohio for more than 30 years before retiring from the classroom.

Carolyn Retzlaff is still a teacher, but now her students are the people she leads through galleries as an art museum docent or those seeking her help as a Franklin County, Ohio, master gardener. Her students have changed, but she still is doing what she loves — sharing information in ways that others can easily understand.

I’m my mom’s newest student

Cassingham Elementary School in Bexley, Ohio, where my mom taught for more than 30 years.

So it’s no surprise that our phone calls are now less about movies and friends we have seen and more about ways for me to survive the first year of this adventurous new career I am undertaking.

In this post, I will share five of her survival tips. Not tips for lesson planning or classroom management but tips for thinking like getting thought the day without hunger, sore feet or excess frustration.

Five survival tips for new teachers

An extra pair of shoes can save your feet!
  • On Sunday night, organize five outfits for the school week. Check to make sure everything is clean, mended and coordinated. You don’t want to discover a missing button five minutes before you have to leave in the morning.
  • Also on Sunday, plan and buy ingredients for five brown-bag lunches and snacks. The days of picking up carry out or going out for coffee are over.
  • Eat lunch with other teachers as often as you can. You need adult company after a morning of kids.
  • Every day of the week, carry along an extra pair of shoes. Or keep an extra pair or two in the classroom. If you change your shoes at lunchtime, you avoid sore feet at the end of the day.
  • Have an adults-only activity planned for the weekend. Buy theater tickets with friends or just have a child-free coffee with neighbors on Saturday morning. Adults help you keep your perspective.

Share your tips!

This is the first of many tips blogs I intend to write this school year. I would love to feature your ideas and suggestions. Share them with me at or post below in the comment sections.