Tips for New Teachers
As a new teacher you are expected to know the meanings of endless acronyms, drills and procedures sent down from administration, schedules for the day, the month, and the year. You’re expected to be flexible when these schedules change, and they will! More than once! On top of that, you should be creating your own schedules, drills, and procedures for your own classroom. The beginning of the year for a new teacher is a whirlwind. The to-do list just seems to keep growing. Don’t know where to start? Use this list to get you ready for an unbelievable school year.
Establish What Kind of Teacher You Are
Are you the high-energy teacher focused on getting his students excited about the content? Are you the heartfelt teacher that pours her heart into conversations with her students whether content related or not? Are you the strict teacher that has high expectations for his students? Are you a mixture of these? Something else? There may be some trial and error here depending on your personality, classroom procedures, and other factors but when you start to fall into that role, own it. Strive to smooth your edges that throw off your teaching groove and continue to hone those teaching skills.
Make an Effort to Establish Parent Relationships
Send an email or write a letter to parents of your students. Touch base with them early so they know that you are someone they can trust. They will appreciate that you did and know that they can contact you with questions or concerns when they have them. This will make later conversations more comfortable especially when you need to relay concerns to parents.
Don’t Be Afraid to Collaborate with Other Teachers
Schools will often set new teachers up with a mentor teacher. Use this person. Ask them questions. All the questions. When you have a question, write it down so you remember the next time you see your mentor. There are going to be so many questions. Ask other teachers too though. Seriously, they will most likely be flattered and you won’t get lost when the first fire drill takes place or print a 70 page document 10 times instead of page 10 of a 70 page document one time (I’m not speaking from experience or anything.) For real though, collaborate early and often. Teachers are the best at sharing. You simply cannot start from scratch. Use what others are willing to give and build from there.
Familiarize Yourself with Resources for Teachers
I literally have a folder on my desktop called “Resources” and I could spend three days scrolling through that folder and still not reach the end. There are SO many great resources for teachers. When I see something I love, I save it. Then when I need something new or different, I go to that trusty little folder. Some of my favorites include:
Teachers Pay Teachers I lived here my first semester of teaching. This website is made up of unit plans made by real teachers for real teachers of any grade. Almost anything you could want is available for purchase and download. There is a chance that your school will purchase items for you too. Trust me, your administration is never more willing to buy something for your teaching or your classroom than in your first year.
Edutopia New Teacher Toolkit Edutopia does so many great things and they have compiled a bunch of blog posts, videos, and lesson plans for new teachers. Check it out.
Really Good Stuff Their name says it all. They have some really good stuff. For real, classroom pretties to complete units for all grades. You will find some good stuff here.
Be a Lifelong Learner
This is a fun one if you can accept it. Don’t be the teacher that won’t admit a wrong or a lack of knowledge. Or the teacher that avoids a certain subject because they don’t like it so they don’t want to teach it. Commit yourself being a lifelong learner. Be active in seeking the knowledge you need to teach your content always and don’t be afraid to go further than that. Learning WITH your students can be really exciting!
Be Kind to Yourself
Not joking here. Give yourself a break. Cut yourself some slack. That mistake you made in the staff meeting will be forgotten, those papers will get graded, that bulletin board looks great! Deep breaths! Relax. One of my last professors in college asked us at the end of student teaching who was still nervous about being a teacher. He said those people were the ones that were going to be good teachers. Those people cared about teaching enough that they were scared not just to fail, but to fail their students. So, that nervous energy is good. Use it to foster your teaching philosophy.