Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers (2023)

Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers (1)

Welcome to your first year of teaching. This year will test you more intensely than just about anything you’ve done up to now. It will deplete all your energy, bring you to tears, and make you question every talent or skill you thought you had. But all these tests, if you approach them the right way, will leave you better and stronger than you are today.

Advice is available everywhere you look, and some of it is very good. Still, with everything you have to do right now, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all. And the fact is, a lot of those tips won’t work very well if you fail to follow this one essential rule:

Surround yourself with good people.

By finding the positive, supportive, energetic teachers in your school and sticking close to them, you can improve your job satisfaction more than with any other strategy. And your chances of excelling in this field will skyrocket. Just like a young seedling growing in a garden, thriving in your first year depends largely on who you plant yourself next to.

Many experienced gardeners follow a concept called companion planting: placing certain vegetables and plants near each other to improve growth for one or both plants. For example, rose growers plant garlic near their roses because it repels bugs and prevents fungal diseases. Among companion plants, the marigold is one of the best: It protects a wide variety of plants from pests and harmful weeds. If you plant a marigold beside most any garden vegetable, that vegetable will grow big and strong and healthy, protected and encouraged by its marigold.

Marigolds exist in our schools as well – encouraging, supporting and nurturing growing teachers on their way to maturity. If you can find at least one marigold in your school and stay close to them, you will grow. Find more than one and you will positively thrive.

Few teachers will be lucky enough to be planted close to a marigold – being assigned to one as a mentor, co-teacher, or team leader will be rare. You will have to seek them out. You can identify them by the way they congratulate you on arrival, rather than asking why anyone would want this godforsaken job. Or by the way their offers to help sound sincere. Or just by how you feel when you’re with them: Are you calmer, more hopeful? Excited to get started on a teaching task? Comfortable asking questions, even the stupid ones? If you feel good around this person, chances are they have some marigold qualities.

Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers (2)

(Video) Find Your Marigolds

Once you’ve identified your marigolds, make an effort to spend time with them. Having a hard day? Go to your marigolds. Not understanding how to operate the grade reporting system? Go to your marigolds. Confused by something the principal said at the faculty meeting? Marigolds. They may be on the other side of the building, out of your grade or subject area, or otherwise less convenient to reach than others. If your school is especially toxic, you might have to find your marigolds in another school, or even online. Make the effort. It’s worth the trouble.

While seeking out your marigolds, you’ll need to take note of the walnut trees. Successful gardeners avoid planting vegetables anywhere near walnut trees, which give off a toxic substance that can inhibit growth, wilt, and ultimately kill nearby vegetable plants. And sadly, if your school is like most, walnut trees will be abundant. They may not seem dangerous at first. In fact, some may appear to be good teachers – happy, social, well-organized. But here are some signs that you should keep your distance: Their take on the kids is negative. Their take on the administration is negative. Being around them makes you feel insecure, discouraged, overwhelmed, or embarrassed.

WALNUT TREES ARE POISON. Avoid them whenever you can. If you don’t, they will start to infect you, and soon you’ll hate teaching as much as they do.

Doing this may be a challenge: Your supervisor might be a walnut tree. You may be co-teaching with one. You might work on a whole team of walnut trees, spending hours with them every week. Touching base with your marigolds will help flush out the toxins that build up from contact with the walnut trees. On top of that, simply identifying certain co-workers as walnut trees can help dilute their power over you. If I’d had a label I could mentally place on certain people in the schools where I worked, they would have had far less of an impact on me.

So in the spirit of identification, here are some common walnut tree varieties to look out for:

Kid-Hatin’ Kate, who will snort every time you share a positive anecdote about your students. Spend enough time with her and you’ll believe every single one of them is a lying, cheating little sneak and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.

Retirement Dan, who regularly reports on how many years he has left before he’s “outta here.” He then adds with a chuckle that you have about thirty, right? Dan will find your enthusiasm about school “cute,” but will then tell you to “just wait…it’ll wear off.”

Twenty-Page Tina, who sets impossibly high standards for her students and brags when kids fail. You had your kids write a five-page paper? Tina assigned twenty. Your mid-term had fifty questions? Tina’s had a hundred and fifty, and only a dozen kids passed it. The students say her exams are the only ones they ever have to study for. After talking to Tina, you’ll feel the urge to triple your kids’ workload and add at least ten trick questions to your assessments, just to get your average down.

Badass Bobby, who overhears you talking about your students acting up in class and says, “They would never try that crap in my room.” Whenever you leave a conversation with him, you go and scream at your kids.

(Video) The Marigold Effect

Hattie-Who-Hates-the-Principal. Self-explanatory.

Lawsuit Steve, who sees you touch a student’s forearm and says you better watch out. He “had to give up hugs years ago” and is always reminding you to “be careful.”

My-Time Margaret, who counts the number of minutes she got for lunch, complains about serving one more day of car-rider duty than anyone else, and knows precisely what time she’s legally required to be in the building each day (not a minute earlier).

And Good-Old-Days Judy, who hates anything new and never fails to mention how much better things used to be.

Be especially vigilant during PDs, when you’ll find yourself in a veritable forest of walnut trees. It will be the worst when the presenter asks you to perform some task – read student work, for example – in groups. The trees will slowly turn toward the center, leaves rustling, snarky comments dropping off their branches like walnuts whacking the table. It won’t matter how potentially interesting the activity might be, as soon as they huddle up it will be snark, snark, ugly, ugly, hate, hate. When this happens, recognize that you are surrounded, hold tight to your roots, and remember your marigolds.

Your search for marigolds will yield imperfect results: Not everyone is all-marigold or all-walnut tree. There will be some in the building who just make you happy – go to them for a mood boost. Some who aren’t terribly good at the teaching part, but love the kids to death – seek them out when you need to be reminded of how much you love them, too. Others will take care of you – encourage you to rest, slack off a little, not beat yourself up. And some who are intensely into the craft, who always have a great strategy on hand and keep up on current research – they can really help you stretch your abilities. Learn who has what marigold qualities and get what you can from each of them.

Finally, try to find some compassion for the walnut trees. Their toxicity comes from a place of real pain, and they themselves probably fell under the influence of the walnut trees who came before them. Plus, it’s not like their complaints have no basis in reality. Teaching is a ridiculously hard job, some say almost impossible–like climbing Mount Everest (if you’ll allow for one last metaphor). Still, you’re aware of the difficulty, and though many before you have failed, you have accepted the challenge.

Before you climb that peak, you’ll need to choose a sherpa to escort you through the trek. The first option is Walter Nutt, who starts by asking why in the world you’d want to do something like this. He describes the many others who have died trying to do this climb, how sick you’ll get, how people have polluted the trail, all but destroying what was once a pristine and beautiful mountain. The second option, Mary Gold, congratulates you on your courage, sits down with you to map out some important strategies, and finishes off by saying It’s a crazy-hard, mammoth task, but you know what? We’re going to kick that mountain’s ass.

Who do you want leading you up that peak?

(Video) The Marigold Effect

Find your marigolds and stick close to them. Grow big and strong. Kick that mountain’s ass.♦

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Categories: Inspiration, Working Together

Tags: first-year teachers, greatest hits, pep talks



How are people like marigolds? ›

A marigold is someone who protects them, helps them thrive, and encourages their growth-similar to marigolds in a garden with other vegetables.

What does marigold symbolize? ›

Marigolds were often linked to the powerful strength of the sun and represent power, strength, and light that lives inside of a person. The marigold has also come to symbolize a feeling of despaired love. If someone has lost someone they love, whether it be by death or a broken relationship.

What do new teachers need most? ›

17 Essential Supplies for New Teachers
  1. Antibacterial wipes. Your classroom won't be a blank slate for long. ...
  2. Tissues. Just like wipes, tissues are a must-have, no matter the season.
  3. Hand sanitizer. ...
  4. Shower board. ...
  5. Whiteboard markers. ...
  6. Pens and pencils. ...
  7. Colored duct tape. ...
  8. Storage bins, shelves, and tubs.
28 Jul 2016

What is a marigold in teaching? ›

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Teaching Job Mid-Year

Start by finding one or two positive, supportive teachers who seem to really love their jobs (around here, we call these people Marigolds), and spend most of your time with them.

What is the summary of marigolds? ›

SUMMARY: The crisis of Marigolds, by Eugenia Collier, is that Lizabeth, a 14 year old African American girl, doesn't know who she is. The conflict of the story involves Lizabeth trying to find out who she is while growing up in a poor Maryland society during the Great Depression.

What is a marigold woman? ›

The Marigold Woman is the Golden Headed Goddess of life. The light of dawn, and the inner illumination amidst the dark night. She is the sun of creation, and she is the exhale of the last breath. She is stamina, strength, vibrancy, love, joy, and freedom. She is you, and you are her.

How did marigold get its name? ›

The flower name is derived from Mary's gold and was used in reference to the Virgin Mary. Marigolds are often incorporated into “Mary gardens” that are planted with flowers associated with Mary.

Does marigold symbolize creativity? ›

French marigold (Tagetes patula) – Sometimes called the Garden Marigold or the Rainy Marigold, it symbolizes creativity and passion. It's also thought that the flower has magical powers associated with prophetic dreams, legal matters and protection. However, it can also represent jealousy, grief and uneasiness.

What should a new teacher do? ›

Teachers share their best advice to help new educators start their first year with confidence.
  1. Empathize with your students. ...
  2. Be flexible at school and at home. ...
  3. Understand your role in students' lives. ...
  4. Find a mentor. ...
  5. Manage your classroom fairly and firmly. ...
  6. Ask for help, and learn from your mistakes.

What teachers need the most? ›

To help you gather those things with ease, we've made a list of 50 essential items for teachers that you can purchase on Amazon.
* All items have been selected based on the most essential items for teachers.
  1. Sharpened pencils. ...
  2. Letter tray. ...
  3. Magnetic hooks. ...
  4. White labels. ...
  5. Magnetic clips. ...
  6. Desk organizer. ...
  7. Grade book. ...
  8. Flair pens.

What makes a good teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What is the most important contribution that a teacher can make in the classroom? ›

What is the most important contribution that a teacher can make in the classroom? They avoid stagnation at all costs and maintain an desirable passion for children and the learning process.

What are the rules and responsibilities of teachers? ›

Teacher responsibilities include:

Presenting lessons in a comprehensive manner and use visual/audio means to facilitate learning. Providing individualized instruction to each student by promoting interactive learning. Creating and distributing educational content.

How can I make my teaching motivating and interesting? ›

Here are some strategies that can be used in the classroom to help motivate students:
  1. Promote growth mindset over fixed mindset. ...
  2. Develop meaningful and respectful relationships with your students. ...
  3. Grow a community of learners in your classroom. ...
  4. Establish high expectations and establish clear goals. ...
  5. Be inspirational.
4 Jun 2018

What do the marigolds symbolize in the story marigolds? ›

Miss Lottie's marigolds represent the possibility of a happy, beautiful life—even amid the dreariness of poverty. Lizabeth describes the shantytown where she lives as grim, dusty, and colorless. Since she's a child, she's not consciously aware of how poor she is, but she does see how miserable her surroundings are.

Can you harvest marigold seeds? ›

Harvesting and saving marigold seeds is quick and easy. You simply have to remove the seeds from the blooms and let them air dry before storing them over the winter. If you have an abundance of blooms, you can even make some seed packets to give away as gifts.

What was the most important lesson Lizabeth learned in Marigolds? ›

Lizabeth seems to mean that she has learned to find hope and cultivate beauty even in the face of struggle and hardship. Even though Lizabeth did something horrible by destroying Miss Lottie's marigolds, reflecting on the experience has helped her grow and resolve her feelings of frustration and anger.

Which statement best explains how Lizabeth develops the theme in Marigolds? ›

Which statement best explains how Lizabeth develops the theme in "Marigolds" that compassion comes from experiencing similar suffering? After destroying the marigolds, Lizabeth finally understands that Miss Lottie is angry at the children for being playful because her son cannot be.

What is the conflict of the story Marigolds? ›

The conflicts of Marigolds are internal and external. The internal conflict is Lizabeth versus herself emotionally with innocence, compassion, growing up, and accepting responsibility. The external conflict involves Lizabeth and the poverty and rough times while growing up.

What is short for marigold? ›

With nicknames from Mari and Mary to Margo, Goldie, and maybe even Maggie, this is the kind of bold name that stands out and fits in.

Are marigolds good luck? ›

Marigolds. Marigolds are said to have protective qualities that shoo away evil spirits. Other cultures believe marigolds represent a pot of gold and are symbolic of good fortune.

What do marigolds symbolize in India? ›

Marigolds are very popular in Hindu weddings because they represent the sun, symbolizing brightness and positive energy. They are also associated with Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, who are considered an ideal couple in Hindu mythology.

What's another word for marigold? ›

  • flower.
  • French marigold.
  • Tagetes patula.
  • Tageteste.
  • Aztec marigold.
  • genus Tagetes.
  • African marigold.
  • Tagetes erecta.

What is the common name of marigold? ›

Common marigold (Calendula officinalis) The common marigold (Calendula officinalis Linn.) belongs to Asteraceae family. The other names with the common name “marigold” are pot marigold, marygold, poet's marigold, Scotch marigold, Scottish marigold, among others.

What is the class of marigold? ›


What flower means creativity? ›

Marigold. Known as "the herb of the sun", Marigolds symbolize passion and creativity.

Why are marigolds used? ›

SAN ANTONIO – Marigolds are the most recognizable flower associated with Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead. The flower is placed on graves during the holiday. It is believed to lure souls back from the dead to the land of the living with its vibrant colors and powerful scents.

What do marigolds keep away? ›


The marigold is one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants and with good reason — they have a scent that will keep pests like mosquitoes, nematodes like cabbage worms, and other pests away. Plant marigolds to attract beneficial insects that attack and kill aphids.

How do you fit in a new teacher? ›

Tips for New Teachers: How to Thrive in Your First Year
  1. Remember: You Are Not Alone. Every one of your colleagues has been where you are as a first-year teacher. ...
  2. Use Your Resources! This comes back to colleagues, too. ...
  3. It's Okay to Admit Something Didn't Work. ...
  4. Take Time for Yourself. ...
  5. Be Optimistic, But Realistic.
13 Oct 2021

What do teachers really want? ›

Just say no. So, what do teachers really want? It's simple, really—and fits every budget: notes of appreciation, school supplies and gift cards.

What is the best subject to teach? ›

Best Subjects to Teach in the Classroom
  • Art.
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • English.
  • French.
  • Health & PE.
  • Mathematics.
  • Music Education.
21 Dec 2021

What every first year teacher should have? ›

First Year Teacher Essentials Checklist
  • sticky notes.
  • tissues.
  • a timer.
  • manual pencil sharpener.
  • clipboard.
  • stapler.
  • binder clips.
  • dry erase markers.

Who is a teacher in simple words? ›

A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue.

Who is a great teacher? ›

Great teachers form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people. Great teachers are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after school and make themselves available to students and parents who need them.

What makes a teacher happy? ›

In the teaching perspective, teacher job satisfaction is when students learn and have progressed, responsible, grow and develop well. Teachers can also experience job satisfaction when teachers engage in activities and function their abilities to the fullest.

What are 5 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

And by the end, you'll be able to enhance the quality of education you deliver to the students.
  • Mentor. During the formative years of students, teachers play the role of a mentor. ...
  • Mediator. ...
  • Resource House. ...
  • Morale Booster and Motivator. ...
  • Demonstrator. ...
  • Continuous Learner. ...
  • A Good Listener. ...
  • Participant.
1 Feb 2022

What is one thing that you learned that will make your teaching more effective? ›

Make learning enjoyable. There are innovative ways to present an otherwise plain and boring lesson. You can include activities or mini games so that the students will learn while having fun. You will easily be their coolest teacher if you let them experience things others don't usually do.

What can you contribute to the school as a teacher answers? ›

Every teacher should be unintentionally committed to providing their students with the highest ever possible quality education. I will rigorously focus on their classroom, academics, curriculum and other crucial factors of students education and will make personal sacrifices for the sake of my students.

Why do you want to be a teacher best answer? ›

"I want to become a teacher so that I can make a real difference in children's lives. I take the task of developing young people into kind, thoughtful and contributing adults very seriously. I have always been so grateful to my teachers and the educational system for making me the person that I am today.

What is the role of a good teacher in the classroom? ›

A teacher imparts knowledge, good values, tradition, modern-day challenges and ways to resolve them within students. A good teacher is an asset to the students. Should be impartial, he/she must treat all the students equally. Must be an embodiment of patience.

How do teachers create a positive learning environment? ›

Promote positive interaction amongst your students. Allow them to share their feelings, and encourage them to listen to each other, give compliments, express gratitude and practice problem solving together. As teachers, we can present topics and help initiate discussions, but then let students guide the conversation.

How do you engage and motivate learners? ›

By Cristina Cabal
  1. Cristina Cabal has been teaching for 26 years. ...
  2. Involve your students. ...
  3. Give students the chance to shine. ...
  4. Make learning fun. ...
  5. Step away from the textbooks. ...
  6. Explain why you are doing things a certain way. ...
  7. Give very clear instructions. ...
  8. Set clear, attainable goals for every lesson.
20 Jan 2017

How do teachers inspire their students? ›

Inspire by introducing them to heroes, old and new. Make learning fun. Share a mutual respect for each other. Convey your passion for the subject you teach.

Why do people plant marigolds? ›

Marigolds actually attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, parasitic wasps and lacewings which all prey on harmful garden insects reducing the amount of damaging insects found around your garden. Marigolds also help eliminate nematodes, with toxins found within the plant.

Why are marigolds used for Day of the Dead? ›

The fragrance of the bright orange and yellow flowers is said to lead souls from their burial place to their family homes. The cheerful hues also add to the celebratory nature of the holiday, which, although it's wrapped up in death, is not somber but festive.

Are marigolds a popular flower? ›

Several species of marigolds are used as ornamental annuals and are very popular all around the world due to their ease of growing. Native to Central America and Mexico, these low-maintenance plants thrive in full sun locations and will provide abundant blooms up until frost.

Why do people plant marigolds around gardens? ›

They don't just draw in those pollinators, they also draw in insects to help you in organic pest control. Marigolds can help to bring in ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, parasitic mini-wasps and other predatory insects that will eat aphids and other pests which can damage your crops.

What do marigolds protect? ›

The marigold is one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants and with good reason — they have a scent that will keep pests like mosquitoes, nematodes like cabbage worms, and other pests away. Plant marigolds to attract beneficial insects that attack and kill aphids.

What does a marigold look like? ›

They tend to be short, bushy plants, from 5 to 18 inches tall. They have purple-tinged stems with double flower heads in yellow, orange, and mahogany that are about 2 inches across. 'Naughty Marietta' is a ruffled, deep-yellow French marigold with maroon splashes in the center.

What color is marigold yellow? ›

Marigold is a yellow-orange color. It is named after the flower of the same name.

What is another name for marigold flowers? ›

Calendula (/kəˈlɛndjuːlə/) is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae that are often known as marigolds.

What do marigolds smell like? ›

* Marigolds: These brightly colored annuals are extremely popular bedding plants--at least from a distance, according to Berghage; Robert Nuss, Penn State professor of ornamental horticulture; and Jay Holcomb, professor of floriculture. “They have an overpowering musky smell like wet hay or straw,” Berghage said.

What is the flower of the day? ›

Round and Purple Alliums. A member of the onion family, allium blooms in late spring to early summer and prefers well-drained soil and full sun. The globe-like, purple flowers attract butterflies and are also great for cutting. Hardiness depends on the species and cultivar.

What is unique about a marigold? ›

The bloom itself symbolizes beauty, warmth, creativity, a drive to succeed, and celebration of the dead. 8. Speaking of “celebration of the dead,” marigolds are known as the flower of the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico and is still regarded as an important symbol used during Day of the Dead festivities!

Is marigold a name? ›

Marigold is an English name taken from the common name used for flowers from different genuses such as Calendula or Tagetes, among others. “Marigolds” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

What flower has gold? ›

Answer: Marigolds. Marigolds (Tagetes) produce a variety of gold-hued flowers. The "antiguas" cultivars display blossoms in a variety of hues including a saturated gold, oranges and yellows.

Do marigolds help soil? ›

In addition to the beauty they offer, marigolds can also be planted as pest control in the vegetable garden or flower beds. They contain a chemical (thiophene) that helps control nematodes in soil. Marigold flowers make great additions to bouquets and dry well.

Do marigolds keep mosquitoes away? ›

Marigolds, an easy-to-grow annual flower, emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or entrance to your home to keep bugs out. Marigolds are also a popular addition to borders and vegetable gardens.

Are marigolds good for soil? ›

Fighting nematodes is difficult, if not impossible, so the best choice is to use them as a companion plant to stop nematodes from invading the soil. It's said that marigolds help out neighboring plants by killing nematodes.


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