- Organization, allowing yourself to make mistakes, and forming positive relationships with your colleagues are all great advice for new teachers.
- New teachers should also remember to always ask for help when they need it and to be flexible when plans change.
What do you think of when you hear the word 'Teacher'?
Merriam-Webster’s definition of the term 'teacher' is “one whose occupation is to instruct”... but we all know that is just one piece of the giant puzzle.
Teachers are amazing individuals who not only instruct students but also wear many other “hats.” Teachers are vital to student learning and education as a whole. However, according to the National Education Association (NEA) there is a teacher shortage in America and approximately 50% of NEA members plan to leave teaching earlier than expected (NEA, 2022).
It is vital that we support the new generation of teachers so that they can thrive and be the best version of themselves for their students.
Here are my top 10 tips for new teachers to help them set up their first year for success!
1. Don’t let work overshadow your personal life
I know that this is a lot easier said than done, but establishing boundaries from the very beginning is super important. This will help allow you to take care of yourself when things get super busy or stressful.
2. Never stop learning
Take time to learn and grow. It is so important as educators and adults to keep prioritizing the idea of improvement. As a new teacher, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with everything you feel that you have to learn. My biggest advice is to pick 1 or 2 things that you want to do really well and prioritize the learning on that in your first year. Then you can pick something else next year!
3. Foster positive relationships and connections with your students
Take time at the beginning of the school year to get to know your students. Building positive relationships with your students and allowing them to connect with each other is a key and vital way to support your classroom management (see tip 7). Students will learn and engage more with a teacher that they feel comfortable with and supported by.
4. Establish relationships with all of the other colleagues within your school
Work friends are so important. In the field of education, it is vital to have a great community of colleagues that respect each other. However, be sure to establish relationships with ALL colleagues at your school. Teachers are just one population and the other adults in the building play a vital role in your day-to-day job… so make sure that you establish a relationship of mutual respect and trust from day 1.
Discover: The Do's and Don'ts of Communication
5. Ask for help
Do not be afraid to ask for help. I know this statement is very general, but please ask for help if you need it. You could be asking help with student behaviors, communication with parents, differentiating a certain lesson, or even completing a required standardized assessment. Whatever it is… just ask for help. Your administration and colleagues would much rather you ask for help than suffer in silence.
6. Learn from your mistakes
Remember that you will NOT be perfect and that is okay! Teaching is such an interesting profession. There is so much that you learn in college, but there are also a ton of things that you learn while on the job. You are going to make mistakes. The best educators are the ones that learn from them and strive to be better.
7. Classroom management is so important from day 1
Classroom management is something that should be prioritized and starts before the first day of school. You need to go into the school year with an initial plan on how you will run different aspects of your classroom. Develop a set of expectations with your students on the first day of school and repeat the practice of those expectations often throughout the school year. Remember that if something doesn’t work well with your students, then you can always change it!
8. Be flexible
Things are constantly changing in education and in teaching. It is so important to be flexible and willing to change. New students can come into your classroom at any time, district-wide mandates can change, school initiatives can fluctuate, lessons will not go as planned… the list goes on and on. So protect yourself by going into the school year with a plan, but being flexible and willing to shift as needed.
9. Simple organization that works for you
Organization in your first year is so important. There will always be something that you need to find quickly or that you need to get done. Look around and see how others keep things organized, but remember that you will need to find something that works for you. Keep it simple and know that you can always change your system in the future if it doesn't work.
10. Find a Mentor
Teaching can be hard… but you do NOT have to do it alone! Having a mentor is so important. Mentors have been through exactly what you are going through and have survived. They can be there to listen to you when you have had a rough day, provide guidance when you need support, and even share resources with you to help make your first year easier. A good mentor can truly help make your first year in education a wonderful experience.
Learn more: The Importance of Mentors for New Teachers
Following these tips will definitely be helpful, but the most important thing is to remember that your passion for helping your students is truly what is going to encourage you to thrive!
Author: Kaldia Racine
Posted: 02 Jun 2023
Estimated time to read: 4 mins