If I could go back and give my pre-TFA self some advice, this is what it would be:
1. read as many teaching books as you can get your hands on
2. observe as many classrooms as you can, just to get the feel for what day-to-day life is like in the classroom
3. see a counselor. if you have any unresolved emotional issues, they WILL come up in this experience, so best deal with them beforehand.
4. save up as much money as you can — I had $5,000 and that wasn’t nearly enough.
5. learn how to handle stress in a constructive way
6. find a creative outlet that you can turn to when you need a break
7. build up your professional wardrobe — it’s hard to get clothes when the nearest clothing store is an hour away.
8. have honest conversations with teachers about the good and the bad parts of teaching
9. learn more about your region
10. build up your collection of what I call “happy movies”. this week, I’ve watched the Emperor’s New Groove, Monsters Inc, Heavyweights, Beauty & the Beast, What Happens in Vegas, and the Sandlot.
If I think of more stuff, I’ll add it. Feel free to email me if you have questions :).