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Here at the American Board, we want our candidates to succeed. We do this in many ways: phone and email support, the Study Buddy program, and encouraging blog articles. But the best support our candidates receive is advice from alumni of our program.

We asked our alumni to give us their top tips for success in the classroom and with the American Board program and they responded in droves! Below is some top advice for future educators about the program and life afterwards, from American Board alumni.

Taylor Ambrosi, High School English Language Arts Teacher (Independence, Missouri)

Taylor Ambrosi in her classroom
American Board alum Taylor Ambrosi in her classroom
  • Practice your essays! Do one a week to ensure that 6 on your exam.
  • The (ELA) recommended reading was an extremely helpful addition provided by ABCTE.
  • Review your material, take notes, use the practice tests as often and as many times as you can.

Rolland Yoakum, Middle School Science Teacher (Liberty, Missouri)

Rolland Yoakum in his classroom
Rolland Yoakum, American Board alum, in his classroom
  • Get to know good people in an inspiring school district. Volunteer, or work as a substitute teacher, as much as you can in your subject area. When you start teaching, these contacts are going to be able to provide support.
  • ABCTE will provide you with a good foundation, but you need to supplement it with the advice and support of inspired, experienced teachers.

Maegann Coyle, High School Environmental Science Teacher (Coweta, Oklahoma)

Maegann Coyle in her classroom
American Board alum Maegann Coyle in her classroom
  • Stick to your own personal style when you teach. You will see a lot of teaching styles, but you and your students will benefit better if you stay true to yourself.
  • Involve your students in the rule making process if possible. They will follow the rules and respond to discipline if they feel like they are a part of it.
  • Remember, every day is a new day!

Shaniequa Lewis, High School English (St. Louis, Missouri)

Shaniequa Lewis in her classroom
Shaniequa Lewis, American Board alum, in her classroom
  • Focus on one piece of material at a time, and once you get into the classroom form relationships with students.

Alecia Stauffer, Middle School English (Kuna, Idaho)

American Board alum Alecia Stauffer (in costume) in her classroom
American Board alum Alecia Stauffer (in costume) in her classroom
  • Set expectations in the first week of school and be consistent. This cuts back on classroom behavior issues you will face.
  • Create a work board (similar to a task or chore board), you will have enough to do on your own as a new teacher. You don’t need to be sharpening pencils, replacing supplies, or straightening desks. It gives your students a better respect for the classroom and saves you countless hours throughout the year. Plus if you give a reward, the kids will be begging to help out!

Scott Moore, High School English (Boise, Idaho)

Scott Moore in his classroom
Scott Moore, American Board alum, in his classroom
  • Attend a teaching conference in your subject area, even if you don’t have a full-time job yet. The amount of great information you get from conferences, as well as the networking you can do and the ideas you’ll hear, will greatly benefit your first few years of teaching!
  • Bring energy to your content area every day! Your students will feed off your passion for any subject. It’s amazing how quickly they can pick up on your emotions when you’re not fully invested. Find topics and subjects you love, and share your knowledge with that natural energy!

Are you an American Board alumnus? Submit your advice for current candidates to blog@abcte.org.

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