Teacher Voices: A Good Mentor and a Good Read Will Help New Teachers Ease Some First-Year Stress (Sara Steindorff, Pike Road)

This summer, ABPC Program Coordinator Emily Strickland is asking a selection of teachers engaged in our statewide educator networks to let us know how they’ll be spending their summer break. Second grade teacher Sara Steindorff plans to peruse her year-long “highs and lows” journal now that she has some time to reflect more deeply on what worked, what didn’t, and why. She also shares a tip for new teachers that can help relieve stress.

Sara Steindorff
Grade 2 Lead Learner
Pike Road Elementary

1) What books are you reading this summer? 

My summer stack includes some nonfiction I’m eager to read. The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon is a good fit for primary teachers and educators with a library media background. I’ll also be reading two books by self-help author Brené Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly.

2) How will you be continuing your professional learning this summer?

I am planning to be intentional on meeting with other educators to discuss past experiences and plans for the coming year. I also attended the Alabama School Library Association (AASL-Region 5) conference in early June and enjoyed connecting with other educators to talk about teacher support, reading and children’s literature.

3) What reflection process do you use to think about the past year and plan for the next?

I tried to journal my highs and lows throughout the past school year and I plan to spend some time reviewing those in order to make plans and improvements for 2018-19. When you are rushing through the days and weeks, it’s easy to put off reflection. Who ever has enough time? Journaling helps capture some of the greats and not-so-greats on the fly for later, more deliberate thinking.

4) What advice would you give a first year teacher on how best to use their first summer as a way to prepare for the next school year?

Don’t stress and spend your summer worried about how your classroom will look, rather focus on how you will build relationships with your students and families.

Find a mentor who can share experience and lessons learned and be honest with you. Be a learner who is not afraid to ask about things you don’t understand. Read Management in the Active Classroom by Ron Berger and get excited for the best time in your life!

Sara Steindorff is a C2 (2nd grade) Lead Learner at Pike Road Elementary School in Pike Road, Alabama. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Troy University and her Master’s Degree in Library Media from The University of West Alabama. She is entering her 7th year in education and 5th year at Pike Road.