First Year Teaching Advice From the Trenches


I remember how excited I was when I began teaching 12 years ago!  I had my dream job and I knew was going to make a difference.  Twelve years later, I still work in the same school district, and I still work in a school that has about 85% students coming from a low-income home.   I still have the same excitement and feel the same way- that I am making a difference!

Not everyday is perfect and some days are harder than others.  You'll meet lots of people that have lost their "teaching spark" but that doesn't mean you will!!!

I'm a big picture gal, and I know that what I'm doing is going to change these children's lives and help break the cycle of poverty!  I've been collecting the wisdom of experienced teachers from one year to thirty years experience!  I wanted to share with you some ideas that will help you survive your first year, help maintain your sanity, and keep you energized and excited!

Jennifer from the Practical Primary Teacher and Carla from Comprehension Connection both focuses on classroom routines and procedures.  Jennifer says that it may seem like overkill to model and have kids do certain things over and over until they get it correct, but it will be worth it when they can do it automatically. It will save you from chaos and from wasting valuable instruction time. Remember...wasted seconds and minutes each day can add up to wasted hours and even DAYS over the period of a school year! Some examples of things to perfect: Coming to meeting area, lining up, leaving meeting area, drink and bathroom procedures, getting supplies, turning things in, going to centers/stations, cleaning up centers/stations, meeting at small group area.

Carla reminds new teachers to think about about the traffic flow- (least amount of wandering possible)! If you decide to change things up in your room, try to make just one change at a time and polish it before making another. Too many changes at once leads to a stressed teachers and confused kids.

In terms of academics, Cathy Collier reminds new teachers to help provide students with the tools they need to be successful independent workers!  

Sandy Cangelosi provides advice on digital citizenship and online safety.  She says that it can be incorporated into your classroom behavior plan, and if your district doesn't have policies in place, there are lots of resources online!  Here are some great resources from ISTE to get you started! 

The most frequent advice I was given was to use your fellow grade level teachers as a resource for questions, guidance, anything you need!  

Darcy from Ms. D's Literacy Lab reminds new teachers to become good friends with your literacy coach and reading teacher. They will be your greatest supports with ideas, websites, knowledge of your school's literacy closet, understand the language arts curriculum at all grade levels, and know your students' already !  

I love this great suggestion from Janiel Wagstaff:  One way to boost your skills is to observe expert teachers in your own building. Your literacy coach or admin can facilitate this.

When it comes to students, Miranda J. reminds new teachers to create a bond with your students, relationships are everything. They will work and try hard for those they know care and believe in them.

Finally, Shelly T. reminds teachers to get plenty of sleep!!!  You’ll need it!



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