It wasn't that long ago since I was a first year teacher, myself..I look back and wonder if those poor 5th graders learned a thing that year but that's water under the bridge. What I do know is that I loved those kids like my own and still think about them often.
I have gained so much knowledge in the last 6-7 years that it makes me wonder what the heck I was doing that first year but I am continually learning and that's what matters the most. There are areas that I consider myself an expert and there are areas of teaching that I'm still working on. I also don't claim to have all the answers but as a teacher, I do know the value of collaboration. For this post, I have enlisted the help of some of my teacher idols. I was able to either see them, meet them, or listen to them present at the TpT conference in Nashville this last summer. I was so inspired by these teachers that I knew I needed their help in providing valuable advice to new teachers. And guess what.. their tips DO NOT disappoint! Make sure you check out more about each of them by using the link below their tips!
"Find one person in the building who you admire and look up to. Spend as much time as possible talking with her, learning from her, and watching her teach. Focus 99% of your energy on relationships and classroom management. The curriculum will come more slowly and will take more time for you to learn. Also, start off the year at the pace you're willing to keep up."
---Brook Brown from Teach Outside the Box
"Choose one thing that you want to become an expert at. For example, guided reading. Read professional development books, watch YouTube videos, etc; then the next year choose a different area."
---Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class
Tip # 3:
"My best advice for new teachers is to shut the door, turn off the lights and plan one day a week. Ignore the phone calls, the knocks at the door during that one planning period a week and just plan your heart out!!! Planning like that once a week will help keep you on track and productive. And when you feel like a daredevil, do this twice a week!"
---Meghan Harris from Keeping up with Mrs. Harris
"I wish someone would have told me to use a scan app to scan all printables, tests, paper assignments, etc. and keep them organized in Dropbox or Google Drive. I spent so much time those first few years holding on to master copies and trying to organize them in file folders. It was totally not necessary now that we can keep everything stored digitally."
---Tabitha Carro from FlapJack Education
"Don't get overwhelmed with making things "perfect." There is NO perfect...only perfection in trying. Also...make a plan, but know that it's okay if your lesson takes a 360...Those are usually the best lessons!"
---Joey Udovich from Create, Teach, and Share
Tip # 6:
"One thing to always keep in mind is that your relationship with your students has a huge impact on their learning and their attitudes towards school. Make it a point to get to know your students, to respect them, and to treat them as individuals. Don't be afraid to laugh with them, to smile often, and to offer high-fives to celebrate small victories. Put yourself in their shoes when planning lessons. Aim for a variety of activities with high engagement, include movement throughout the day, and fun wherever possible."
---Jenn Larson from The Teacher Next Door
"My best advice is to ASK FOR HELP! Don't be afraid to reach out to co-workers, other colleagues or social media for help. Also don't pressure yourself to do it ALL. Do what you can and do the best that you can. With time, things will become more natural and you will get your own routines and procedures."
---Greg Smedley-Warren from Kindergarten Smorgasboard
"It’s okay to not be okay! It will be tough, but it will get better. You will have good days and bad days, and maybe that and everything in between in one day, but it will be okay. If you need to walk away for a second, do it. If you need to tap out and have a para take your place while you take a breather, do it. It’s also okay to take time for YOU! You are just as important as your students, don’t forget that! Teaching is a part of you, but it does not define you!"
---Stephanie DeLussey from Mrs. D's Corner
"Look at your to-do list each week and give an impact rating for each item- 5 being something that will most definitely impact your students' learning and a 1 being something that will have little to no impact on students and their learning. Then, cross off the 1's and 2's! Lighten your load because there's just not time to do all the things!"
---Sarah Gardner from ABC's with Mrs. G.
Tip #10 by Marissa Rehder:
"If I could go back to my first year of teaching, I would work on making sure every kid felt loved--they might have but I would absolutely make sure of it. Each kid should feel like they have their very own corner of your heart. Talk to them, know their interests, know their families, help them make goals in and out of the classroom and most of all make sure they feel like your classroom is a safe place where they can be vulnerable and give it their all without fear of failure. Make your classroom a family where everyone has value."
---Marissa Rehder from Purposeful Teaching to Inspire
A sincere thank you to the wonderful teachers who helped provide such valuable tips! It's because of educators like you that new teachers can be inspired to come to work each and everyday and know that they are making a difference!
If there are any tips you have that aren't listed above, drop them in the comments. I would love to hear them! <3