Being a new teacher is so overwhelming. In the first year of teaching, there are just so many different avenues to navigate as a new teacher and SO much to do! There are sleepless nights. The weekends are exhausting while trying to catch up on papers to grade and sleep. Lesson planning seems like it never ends. And, you are trying to keep a smile on your face. It’s. Just. Hard. Believe me, I have been there with you, and I can promise it does get easier. Every year has its challenges. Even veteran teachers will tell you this.
As a new teacher, you probably wish you had more answers, techniques, tips and tricks to make your first year easier. You came to the right place. I have asked four wonderful teachers to give their insight/s on what they wish they knew as a new/first year teacher. Learning from a veteran teacher is GOLD!
My Own Insights
There are two insights I would like to share. One, is always plan a week in advance. You can easily do this in a large, two-page calendar. Write down what you would like to accomplish generally each day. You don’t have to worry about your standards or every fine detail here. This planner will be a place to jot down the overall theme for the day, and you will have a future plan in place. It will be a HUGE stress reliever. Here is my two-page planner I use every year!
Secondly, follow through with your discipline, and award your students with incentives. If you say you are going to do something, do it. For example, if you say, “If you speak out of turn again, I will have to send a note home”, don’t just say it, follow through with your actions. Your students will quickly learn if you follow through with your words, if you don’t, and if they can take advantage of you. In addition, reward the positives. It does not take much to please and get your students excited. Grab my FREE incentive labels right here!
Insights from Other Veteran Teachers
TEACHER INSIGHT # 2:
Kristy from 2PeasandaDog says: You don’t need to know all of the answers. It is ok to tell students-“I am not sure, and I will find out.”
TEACHER INSIGHT # 3:
Lisa from Key to the World Teacher explains : First, you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Build relationships by reaching out to parents, students, and colleagues- but it is also okay if not everyone is your biggest fan. I really struggled if a parent didn’t support my pedagogy, if a student didn’t give me 100%, or if a teacher down the hall rolled her eyes at my idea. Now, I know that I have to do what I feel is best for my students while finding personal joy in teaching (Lisa has been teaching over 10 years).
TEACHER INSIGHT # 4:
Michele from Mickey’s Place shares : I wish that someone told me that each day to do my best, and then build on it again tomorrow. If a lesson didn’t go well, then improve on it, the next day. There are teachable moments, and take advantage of them.
Reading to children each day is vital to all ages! Incorporate books, and picture books in all curriculum areas. Take time to breathe, smile, and to laugh, but be firm! (Michele has over 30 years experience in the classroom!)
TEACHER INSIGHT # 5:
Cheryl, a NY teacher with 15+ years in the classroom, explains: I think my answer to this question has changed over the years. As of the last five years or so, my advice would be to get out of your classroom for lunch. Find a group of teachers that you connect with, and go somewhere else to eat. That 30 minutes our of my room helps me to decompress, reconnect, and head into my afternoons a much calmer and more focused teacher. I used to work through lunch but this has been life-altering for my mental health and thus, life-altering for my students.
I hope these insights will help you in your new year, and we wish you the best of luck. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.