Section 1: Tips for Your First Year of Teaching
Organization is the biggest key! No matter how difficult it gets, kids are number one. — Lacy Lemon
Teaching is exciting, rewarding, and satisfying. It is also difficult, draining, and sometimes heart wrenching. The work we do demands dedication and the ability to give and grow year after year. How will you deal with the daily roller coaster of teaching? Here are some tips to get your first year off to a good start.
- Set high and consistent expectations. Reinforce positive behavior and academic performance.
- Support one another and seek wisdom from others. Your mentor can be a lifesaver. He or she can help you keep your perspective. Also, look for opportunities to collaborate with other first-year teachers so you can support each other.
- Fight isolation in all aspects of your work. Participate in school/community activities that strengthen your relationship with colleagues, parents, and students. You need to have a life outside of your career.
- Reach out for support early and all the time. Don’t wait for a problem to get out of hand. Communicate with parents early in the year. Document everything and talk with your mentor and administrator about any problems you may have.
- Document communication. When talking with parents, administrators, or other teachers on important matters, take the time to log the conversation in a notebook. It will help you recall the discussion at a later date, if needed.
- Be realistic. Don’t let your concern for each child overwhelm you.
- Take care of yourself. Block off time in your calendar to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Treat yourself with respect, compassion, and patience.
- Keep a sense of humor. Laughter helps to relieve stress. Once you gain some perspective, it will not be as bad as it may seem now.
- Love learning, love your students, and love teaching! These tips are offered by both first-year and veteran teachers to help you keep your life in perspective.