What do new teachers need to know?

Now that the new school year is in full swing, we here at the SCLC would like to turn our attention to the new crop of educators within our great state.

As educators, we know that our jobs are tougher than most non-educators may think. Aside from our obligations to teaching and learning, we find ourselves in other roles from time-to-time: emergency medics, mediators, therapists, Xerox machine mechanics…the list is endless! Whether we are serving as a shoulder to cry on after a rough morning or directing traffic at the end of the day, the veterans of our work force can tell you: we wear different hats, and sometimes, simultaneously.

This blog post is dedicated to new teachers, Media Specialists, teacher assistants, and anyone else new to any job within education. We would like to collect tips and suggestions from fellow DEN educators in an effort to share tried-and-true advice with our new brothers and sisters “in arms.”

What are some of the things you wish someone had told you before you opened those library doors for the first time? What do you remember from your first year teaching that has helped you every year since? Please take a minute to post a comment below and share something from your own personal experience that you think is valuable. And feel free to welcome a new teacher to your school or district! We’d love to see them become a part of the DEN here in SC.

If you’re visiting our blog for the first time and would like to know more about becoming a member of the DEN, and maybe even a STAR Discovery educator, click here to learn more.

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  1. Jessica Donaldson said:

    I had great mentors my first year in the classroom, and our district had (and still has) a great program in place for new teachers. One of the things that was constantly told to me by both was something that took me a while to employ, and that was ASK FOR HELP. As simple as it sounds, many of us think that we have to take it all on ourselves- we forget that most important resource we have constant access to: each other!

  2. Cathy Nelson said:

    Amen to that Jessica!! One of the little bits of advice I give new teachers (veteran newbies to my school and fresh out of college too) is that they should ASK for everything from admin. I tell them they should treat their first year in a school like a honeymoon. They are new so they will not know what is provided and what isn’t, and they might just actually GET something they asked for. Surprisingly this has worked many times for new faculty staff members.

  3. Robin McCants said:

    When I first started teaching, someone told me not to smile until Christmas. I don’t think that is such good advice, but I understand what they meant. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into a pit of wanting the kids to be happy and wanting them to like you.

    I think a teacher needs to decide what matters most to her, establish a few guidelines (mine boil down to 2: don’t talk while I’m talking, and be respectful), and stick with them.

    Most of all, create a community of respect and support for IDEAS in your room.

  4. Norma Rockwell said:

    I’ve only been teaching 5 years, but have years of life experiences. I couldn’t have made it through my first year without a strong administration, a compassionate mentor, and a truly wonderful husband. Now, I am a mentor – as I welcome new people and try to be as helpful as my colleagues were to me.
    We have a wonderful first year Media Specialist (Teresa Smoak) with years of teaching experience. She has jumped right in and treats everyone and everything with confidence and professionalism.
    This is going to be a fantastic year!

  5. Benjamin Belden said:

    I think I can echo some of the sentiments already posted above me. As a first year teacher who had moved to a new state and knew very few people, I found it difficult to immediately jump into the ‘cliques’ or groups of teachers that already existed at the school. I felt mostly like an outsider stepping into a place that was already established and I had trouble finding my place. But once I began opening up to people and working hard to get to know everyone, I realized that not only did they have a lot of advice and guidance that could help me, but they were also looking to me for new ideas and my thoughts as well. For any new teacher I would most definitely say not to be afraid to try to work and get to know anyone working at the school, not just teachers but the staff behind the scenes as well, because for the most part there isn’t anyone who doesn’t want their coworkers to succeed and who won’t help to make things better.

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