If you recently found out that you landed a NEW teaching job- CONGRATS!! Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers out there! However, the first year teaching can be a challenge! My first year teaching was a WHIRLWIND but I got through it- and so can you!! Here are my top 5 tips that will make your first year as a teacher GREAT!
5. Decide on your classroom rules and expectations
Classroom management is so important. Start thinking about your rules, procedures, and policies in advance. For example, think about homework. What kind of homework you want to give? How frequently do you want to assign it? How will you grade it? When will you grade it? What happens if a student does not complete their homework? There are so many things to decide! When it comes to classroom rules and expectations, the biggest tip I have is to be CONSISTENT. Students pick up very quickly if there is no follow-through. I am also a firm believer of creating a classroom of mutual respect and positivity. My students always felt loved, respected, and safe in my classroom. My Motivational Hashtag Signs can be found HERE
4. Get your hands on the curriculum
Whether its contacting your administrators or searching the district website, it is truly helpful to learn and understand what you will be teaching your students ahead of time! No one is asking you to write up a month’s worth of lesson plans. (Trust me, don’t do it!) But you should take a look at what exactly you will be teaching so that you can start brainstorming some fun and engaging learning activities. Before school started, I actually was able to get into my building to grab teacher’s manuals of different programs. I felt better having this material at my fingertips!
New beginnings can be scary but your colleagues are EXCITED to get to know you! It’s okay not to know everything- but know that your colleagues are here to help! Be sure to introduce yourself to the secretary and custodian. I swear, these are two of the most important people in your building. As a first year teacher, my classroom was right next to the main office. It was so helpful to pop in and ask the secretary a question!
Your students are going to want to know all about you! Be sure to think about how you want to introduce yourself to your students. Remember, you don’t want to tell them EVERYTHING about yourself- but possibly some hobbies of yours, your favorite books, your pets, etc. One way to introduce yourself to your students is to create a short slide with fun facts about yourself. Another way could be a simple handout that you distribute and discuss with your students. Either way, your students will LOVE getting to know all about their teacher! Check out my Meet the Teacher Editable Templates HERE
2. Stay organized by using a planner
Choose a planner that works best for you. First, you have to decide if you want a physical or digital planner. Whichever you decide, be sure to actually use it! It will help you stay organized about parent teacher conferences, school-wide events, and class parties. One tip is to look at the district calendar and mark up all of the holidays, open house/back to school night, and report card due dates.
Oh! And be sure to write in pencil. Things can change at the drop of a hat! Writing in pencil will make your life less easier because you have the power to erase!
Feeling overwhelmed? Anxious? Remember that you totally got this!! This is normal. There will be times that you are frustrated. There will be times that you fall asleep on the couch grading papers ( guilty!) Make time for yourself. Self care is oh so important!
When you are feeling stressed out, my advice is this: Each day will be better than the last. Each month will be better than the last. It doesn’t matter if you teach kindergartners or high schoolers- you have to start each day as a NEW day. Leave the troubles and stresses from the day before behind.