New Teachers: This One's For You!
Ready to have your own classroom? The fun of decorating and personalizing your own classroom is one of the most exciting parts of being a new teacher, but it might wear off quickly when the students walk in. The transition from being a student to being a teacher might be intimidating for first-year teachers. Whether you are in charge of a kindergarten classroom or walk into the doors of a high school, there will be different challenges for any teacher new to the education world. Let’s explore some resources and ways to navigate your first year of teaching.
Everyone Is Nervous On The First Day Of School!
Whether you are dropping your child off at the bus stop, a student having to get into a new routine, or a teacher having to learn the personalities of many new students, the first day can be overwhelming! Although it can be worrying, the first day of school can lead to a year of growth and confidence for all.
Classroom teaching can be very dynamic with many different variables that may dictate teaching styles, direction, and classroom management. It is okay to start off doing one thing and adapting to what works best for your students. Teach the students in front of you!
Before You Enter Your Classroom…
You are starting from scratch, so gather as many supplies and materials as you can to set your classroom up for success. Look into what works best for other teachers and personalize it to your classroom. It is completely okay, and often encouraged, to be creative in your classroom, but some basic classroom management advice is fundamental. Buying all the supplies for your room can be expensive when starting from scratch, so consider setting up a donation fund or list for parents and other donors! Some options may be on the Scholastic classroom funding, ClassroomsCount, or you can create an Amazon Wish List!
Once you have your classroom essentials and supplies, it is important to start figuring out what a typical day in your classroom will look like. Depending on the schedule of your school, it is crucial to establish classroom routines that are easy for students to learn and follow. These procedures can minimize classroom management issues and help the students know what is expected of them in the classroom.
Lesson planning is a significant part of learning how to be a teacher for a reason! If the teacher is organized, plans ahead, and communicates effectively with students, the students will be comfortable in their learning environment! Consider using a planner (digital or handwritten) that is a good visual of what you can expect and a way to stick to deadlines. Planners do not have to be just for lesson planning, rather, planners allow for organization of staff meetings, grading schedules, and other important school events. An organized classroom will establish routine procedures for students and a clearer mind for teachers!
Community Is Everything
Reaching out to other teachers and your administrators at the school will allow you to truly learn the ways of your school. Do not be afraid to ask questions! Starting a new job in a new environment can be overwhelming, but your school community will be there for you and support you. By establishing strong relationships with those around you, you will feel more comfortable in this new, challenging environment and your relationships will continue to develop throughout the school years!
Your Health is Also a Priority
Typically, the first year is the most challenging for teachers. The priority of the classroom is usually focused on the students, but the teacher’s overall health is equally as important! With long hours and a heavy workload, it is essential for teachers to have the needed support to meet their own personal needs. Teacher burnout is becoming more common within the education system due to lack of proper support, so how can we avoid this?
It is very easy to fall behind from the stress of meeting deadlines, assessing students’ mastery of knowledge, while also planning future lessons. It is important to note the common signs of burnout and be proactive in recognizing those signs. A common challenge of teachers is not establishing a supportive work/life balance with healthy boundaries. Schedule some time for you to do the things you enjoy; try not to think about school during this time! Students need a happy and healthy teacher, so make sure you are consistent in checking on your own wellness, both physical and mental!
Resources for First-Year Teachers
Teacher Toolkit for New Teachers: Tips & Templates for New Teachers
Classroom Essentials for New Teachers: Classroom layouts, planner templates, grading/assessment advice, and more by grade level!
Advice and Personal Development for New Teachers: Direct advice from those who have been in your shoes before!
New Teacher Guide: From lesson planning to working with parents