Cheryl Strabala, ’80 M.Ed. Education, was an educator for 10 years. As a teacher, she dramatically improved reading levels in her classes by facilitating one-on-one student-instructor interaction with the help of parent volunteers. Strabala later served as vice president and co-owner of a successful wholesale food distribution company and continues her career as a businesswoman.
The advice I’d give myself as a new graduate … First, seek out a principal who challenges you and invests in your professional success. You may want to work for a leader who is easy-going; however, I’ve seen so many principals who are friendly but fall short of helping teachers become better leaders.
Next, make sure you have as many classroom management tools available to you as possible. This is far too often the greatest stumbling block for many new teachers. It was certainly mine! But with a great mentor you can manage your team of parents and students well; and if you are a good manager, you never need to complain about a management team getting things wrong.
In addition, learn how to write lesson plans as efficiently as possible. You can get caught up over-planning and waste too much precious time. Seek out the advice of others who can offer tips to help you plan effectively and quickly.
Finally, become a mentor for a new teacher. Learn from your own mistakes and pass this valuable information along to others. It’s your gift to them, and the world, as an education professional.
The Alumni Advice series is part of our special 2016 commencement week celebrations, which include the annual Alumni Association Awards Program May 12, and the spring graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni on social media with #UNLVGrad.