Advice for New Teachers!

Welcome Back to School!

I know that many of you, if you haven’t already, are heading back to the classroom this week. I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing summer and you are recharged and ready for a new school year.

I also know that there are many new teachers out there who are anxiously anticipating their first day of school. It still makes me queasy to think about the days just prior to my first day in the classroom. I had no idea how to set up bulletin boards, my plan book scared me, and I was convinced that my kids knew how nervous I was and would mutiny at any minute. Alas, I survived (and to all the new teachers, so will you!).

I think the day was eased by some advice that I received from a veteran teacher down the hall who obviously noticed how nervous I was.  She said, “Breathe. Smile. Keep moving. And, most importantly, learn all of the student’s names by lunch on the first day. It will make them feel special and help you feel like you are in control”. She was right – and I followed that advice with every new class I had.

Veteran teachers – let’s hear from you….

What is the one piece of advice you think every new teacher should have on their first day of teaching?

Comments

  1. Kristin

    Be consistent. Students notice when you treat one student different from the next. Also, make learning fun and relevant.

  2. Randy Hansen

    I think my first day of teaching was a bit different then most first year teachers since I started in mid-December, in a pre-established class with set routines, class and school policies, and the kids knew what to expect. I know I didn’t, so in some ways that was a blessing as all I needed to do was focus on my lessons. What I took away from that, and what I would offer first year teachers, is the idea of finding a mentor, friend, or someone you can go to with questions or for advice. It’s nice to work with someone who knows the school, the policies and ‘how things work’. I think this alleviates some anxiety of not knowing what to expect or trying to learn everything immediately and will allow you more time to focus on working with your students.

  3. Michelle

    Guess what? Most of your students are as nervous as you are! However, you are the learning leader and you help create the climate of the classroom. Every decision doesn’t have to be made on the first day. Spend time getting to know the kids. This will reduce everyone’s anxiety. Most of all, have fun and enjoy! Good luck!

  4. Jannita Demian

    What memories this post brings up… I remember on my first day I took a moment before all the kids entered to sit down at my desk, take several deep breaths, and soak in my classroom. For many of you, this will be the day you have dreamed of since you were young. Savor that moment!
    With every class, I remind myself and the students, that we will spend more time together throughout the next year, than they will with some of their own family members. It’s essential to create a class community where they feel like they are “coming home” in your room. By the end of the year the students actually referred to themselves as the “Demian Family.”
    The most important thing for every new teacher to know is “Success is a journey… not a destination.” Many times in the next few months (and years to be very honest) you will learn as much as your students as you refine your teaching on a daily (sometimes hourly) schedule. You do not need to have all the answers and it’s okay to feel lost or as if you are just trying to keep your head above water. You’re not alone!
    Now… go out and do what you’ve always dreamed of doing… Make a Difference in a Child!!!
    Congratulations and Good Luck in the months ahead!

  5. Lance Rougeux

    The best piece of advice I can offer to any new teacher is to spend the first week or two (or as long as it takes) doing two things. First, get to know your students. Develop (or steal from other teachers) activities that require students to share about their interests, their experiences, their life. You have to know where your students are coming from before you can take them anyhwere. Second, establish your rules and procedures and reinforce them over and over and over to your students. The time you invest in classroom management (although not always the most exciting thing to do) will pay dividends the rest of the year.

  6. Katie

    This advice may be against all others in teaching High School, but it has been successful for me. I am not very tall, so the idea of “letting them know who is boss” seemed rather awkward as they towered over me. Instead, I tell them that I am looking forward to helping them learn all I can in my subject and I will do everything I can to help them succeed. I know my class is required but I will work hard to make it a class that they will look forward to. With this I also gently remind them that kindness is not the same thing as softness in regard to breaking rules. They usually laugh and understand exactly what I am saying without the “Don’t do this and don’t do that”.

  7. Kathleen

    Each year, I make (or revise) a list of all of the routines, rules, and procedures that I want the students to know. Then, I differentiate between the ones that need to be taught on the first day, and those that can wait.

    The first few days can be really monotonous for both children and teachers. In teaching all of the nuts and bolts of the classroom, I make sure there are plenty of times each day that students are able to participate in something “hands on” and have chances to talk to each other. This allows them to see that school will be fun, gives them a chance to express themseleves, and helps keep them focused when I do have to go through something dry, such as the cafeteria procedures or when they can sharpen a pencil.

  8. Noelle

    Congratulations and best wishes for an exciting year! The first day of school is always a whirlwind of activities and adjustments. Just remember to develop a consistent routine for the year, and remember to involve your students in this planning as much as possible. The more they are involved in the planning and carrying out of a specific task or activity, the more ownership they have. When students feel invested and responsible for work in their classroom/school, the more involved and successful they will be throughout the year.

  9. Carrie

    Although your first instinct may be to stress over all that needs to be done (setting up your room, analyzing last year’s data, mapping out your curriculum for the year, etc.)–don’t stress too much! You have an entire school year, and it will all get done. Make sure to take the time to get to know all of your students and let them know that you care, because they can tell when you don’t. Listen to what they have to say and be the first to say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong–it sets a great example and shows that you are human.

    Have a great year!

  10. Rita Fennelly

    As a young-looking junior high teacher, I find that dressing the part of teacher is really helpful. I always start the beginning of the year with classic business dress and slowly tone it down throughout the year.

    That is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a new teacher.

  11. Perrin

    I was really stressed out on every first day of school. I eventually figured out that it was more important to focus on personal interaction than on administrative duties. I did find that it was helpful for the students to have an activity to do right when they came in the room. My second graders decorated their locker name tags while I talked to their parents. After that, we had a morning meeting on the floor to get to know each other. Good luck and remember it won’t all get done in a day — pace yourself!

  12. Cindy Lane

    10.NEVER let them see you sweat!
    9. Get to your classroom early!
    8. Smile, smile, smile!
    7. Show the students you care, by learning their first names as soon as possible!
    6. Show a unitedstreaming clip EVERY DAY!
    5. Ask the students for THEIR help!
    4. Offer your smile and help to everyone!
    3. Invite the principal to your classroom so the students will see him or her.
    2. Be organized!
    1. Did I mention to start every day with a unitedstreaming video clip?

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