Are you a new school teacher? There are 10 strategies that can help your first year of teaching be a success! The first year of teaching can be stressful, joyful, and challenging all at the same time. Learn how you can use these strategies to build a first year of teaching that will help you be organized and successful with students.
Tip #1 for first year teachers. Over prepare for the first day of class. This may sound a little obsessive, but you only get one chance to make a good impression on your students, so you must be prepared. Work in your classroom as soon as possible to become very familiar with its layout. Count the desks and find out the number of students you will have in the classroom. Plan how you will introduce yourself to students and plan how you will have your students introduce themselves to you as well as the other class members. Learn the daily schedule for the day and keep the students engaged, interacting, and busy. On the personal side, if you have just moved to the area, practice your route to class and do everything you can to make sure you will arrive safely, calmly, and well prepared for your first day of class.
Tip #2 for first year teachers. Plan for classroom management. Find out what the school wide policies are, and who provides backup support for teachers regarding discipline areas. Plan out procedures for everything students will be doing in class. Arrange desks so that you can get to each one. Gather materials to be used on the first day. Plan to greet students at the door and have them find their seats based on a seating for them. Post the class rules, consequences, and positive rewards for following the rules. Managing the classroom efficiently is crucial to having a successful classroom.
Tip #3 for first year teachers. Learn to accept today’s students and realize that they are not going to act the same way you did in school. Times have changed, therefore your thinking has to be positive and change in order to engage students today. Accept their music, their tattoos, and their background. Students today need their teachers more than ever and the most challenging student to teach may need more than the regular employee needs.
Tip #4 for first year teachers. Acknowledge that students today need their teachers support and guidance more than any time in the past, and the toughest student to teach may be the one who needs you most. So, it is critical to be available for your kids in order to successfully gain their trust and motivation to learn.
Tip #5 for first year teachers. Assess prior interests and knowledge. Don’t assume the 7th grader, for example is ready for 7th grade material. Assess your students with a pre-test designed to determine what level of learning they are at. Utilize interest inventories to find out what your students are interested in reading outside of class and what their goals are for learning during the school year.
Knowing the background and interest of your students will help you to meet their needs and achieve their goals.
Tip #6 for first year teachers. Keep lines of communication open with the parents. As the school year begins, send out letters to parents informing them of rules of discipline, management plans, the school calendar and information on the curriculum you will be teaching. Inform parents on dates for open houses so they can plan to come, meet you and ask questions. Also learn from veteran teachers how they handle parent conferences and adopt your own method.
Tip #7 for first year teachers. Don’t be afraid to use different teaching strategies. Kids today are already computer savvy and some in middle and high school kids are already taking online classes, so make sure you keep current on new teaching strategies to keep learning more attractive to your students.
Tip #8 for first year teachers. Keep good plans and records the first year and your second will be much easier. Keep samples of your student’s work, and proof of your professional development activities. Some schools will require a portfolio from you during an evaluation.
Tip #9 for first year teachers. Practice self-help and stress management. While first year teachers often complain that their duties consume all their time, make it a priority to have some “self-care” time. Eating right, exercising and creating some down time for “you” each week will help you keep you strong. Balance your time between friends, family, colleagues, and students.
Tip #10 for first year teachers. Get to know veteran teachers and take advantage of their wisdom and past experiences to enhance your own teaching style. Find yourself a mentor to listen to your concerns and offer advice and solutions. Also invite them to observe one of your classes and encourage suggestions as to how you can improve your teaching methods.
Incorporating some or all of these tips in your first year of teaching will make it more successful and less stressful.
Mary C Clement is a professor of teacher education at Berry College, northwest of Atlanta, GA.
Article by Clement in Update for Inside the Schools Newsletter on; Things New Teachers Can Do To Be Successful.