First year teaching–Welcome to a great profession

Suggestions to make your first year be as amazing as possible!


This was found on Scholastic Teachers via Facebook.

  • Your first year will be a busy one. Don’t get too overwhelmed.
  • Become best friends with the office staff and custodians. Be nice to the custodian and the secretary. Bring them coffee! Try to find out their expectations of you, before hand and before deadlines for newsletters and report cards, etc.
  • Start your own blog to document your journey.
  • Remind yourself, daily, that you can’t do it all or be perfect.
  • Build a classroom community and set your behavior expectations from day 1. It will take practice, and re-practice, but it is worth it.
  • Get “plugged in” to the blogging community! There are tons of support & ideas!
  • Always do what’s best for each individual student and make your classroom a positive, safe learning environment!
  • Determine and set your expectations and stick to them. Don’t give into the whining (and there will be LOTS.)
  • Don’t sweat the little stuff. Worry about only what you can control.
  • Build relationships before you do anything else.
  • Read up on what the kids can and like to do at the age level of your classroom.
  • Most of all, HAVE FUN!
  • Be inventive and creative. The kids will eat it up and do anything you ask them to!
  • Have a really strong classroom management plan in place and START it on day 1!! This leads to a wonderful year!!
  • Always follow through. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you can and do, both positive and negative. And, be firm, be fair, but still listen and talk with each child. Build a strong sense of community and you’ll get the best out of them.
  • Keep it simple. Follow the standards, integrate, but don’t try to over do or do everything that comes to mind. Know your limits, love your students, and be there. Put them first.
  • Be consistent. Do what you say you’re going to do, especially in discipline, and just love them! Set guidelines and boundaries. Share with the kids what those are and they will thrive!
  • Do not forget about the little successes! They keep you going, when you think you can’t do it, anymore. Everyday you really are making a difference!
  • Make sure you have a great relationship with your mentor! They help out so much!
  • Don’t stay past 6…it doesn’t help anything and you don’t get ahead.
  • Give yourself a day to leave, right after school!
  • Call your parents and build relationships!
  • Don’t try and reinvent the wheel…look for resources.
  • Remember to give yourself permission to be a first year teacher. It doesn’t all have to be amazing or perfect the first year around. There is lots of ‘stuff’ that takes extra time, because you’re just learning it, so try to be gracious with yourself.
  • Biggest piece of advice is to get your parents involved, whether it is with happy notes home, phone calls, or any other ways to communicate. Let them know you will work hard to help your students learn and in return, you expect the children to work and for the parents to be your partner.
  • You cannot do everything, so don’t be hard on yourself, when everything is not perfect. Don’t be afraid to try things and especially, don’t be afraid to do things differently, when you find something isn’t working.
  • Every minute is a new minute, a new opportunity for things to be better. Whether it is a kid having a bad moment or you needing to vent, take a deep breath and get ready for the next minute.
  • Make sure to take time for yourself. Get a pedicure, go shopping, or just sleep! It’s so, so, so important to take care of yourself!
  • Keep a notebook or record somewhere of what worked and what you want to do differently for the next year. You learn so much about what works and what doesn’t and you get so many good ideas for ways to do things differently. It is hard to remember them all by the end of the year. Keeping track of this will help you see what all you accomplished and learned at the end of the year.
  • It gets easier as the years go by.
  • Set and practice your expectations for everything (attention getter, lines, pencil sharpening, water fountain, reading books, supplies, hall behavior, partner work, etc.), often. Repeat after any break or when your expectations are not being met. Your students can make posters, using photographs, showing how to behave, appropriately and highlighting the rules. Students need to have a set routine, when they enter the room in the morning, after recess, p.e., lunch, etc. For example, in the morning, they may start on their daily language review and after lunch, they may write in their journal. They need to come in and get to work. This also allows you a few moments to get your lesson ready.
  • Remember to ask for help.
  • Frequently reward good behavior, completely out of the blue, either for individuals or the whole class (think marble jar or extra recess time, for example). Your kids will start behaving well all the time, because they never know when you will notice and do something wonderful!
  • Find an experienced teacher, who still loves to teach, and latch on to them. You can learn so much from those who came before you and are willing to share their ideas and experience.
  • Get your flu shot, because you will pick up every germ and bug the kids bring to school until your body builds some immunity.
  • Spend the first 6 weeks on students learning your/their ROUTINES. It pays off in the long run…classroom management is very important!
  • The first week of school needs to be all about student success. Give them work you KNOW they will succeed at, like a textbook scavenger hunt to get them familiar with what they will be learning.
  • Once you have your materials, things become quicker and more efficient, leaving more time for oneself!

‎”Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.”

– Marva Collins


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