1. Make the curriculum your own, but don't try to re-invent the wheel. My first few years, I had so many ideas that I started every lesson from scratch and left the crates that were passed down from the last teacher to gather dust in the corner. When I taught my English learners about science academic language, I went straight to home depot to create plaster of paris mountains with sand paper so that students could feel the words for erosion, landslides, and peaks. I made my own handouts to teach literature circles and everything else! I spent every evening and weekend creating, planning, and grading. And at the end of that wonderful year, I realized that I would never make it through a 3 year, much less 30 year career at that pace. When the next year rolled around and I was assigned to completely different grade levels, I decided to actually go through the files left behind and use them as a base. I also purchased literature guides for each of my novels. Of course I still threw in the cool inforgraphic project or socratic seminar, but I saved a ton of time not creating every single lecture, test, and activity from scratch.