The Best Advice for First Year Teachers

Congratulations! You are starting your first year as a teacher! To help you survive your first year, I asked our Facebook Group Wife Teacher Mommies Unite and our Instagram followers to share the best advice for first year teachers. I’ve compiled their advice for you here!

It is such an exciting time, and there is so much to learn. You will have amazing successes and you will also make a lot of mistakes. Every teacher has been there, we’ve all had a first year experience. 

Teacher in a head scarf with students. The writing says the best advice for first-year teachers.

Start with classroom management

  • “Classroom management….. If you have that you are golden. Get a copy of The First Days of School by Harry Wong.  Read it, use it, keep it on your desk.”
  • “Read “The Courage to Teach” by Parker J Palmer.” (if you want more great books to read check out this blog post Top 15 Teacher Professional Development Books)
  • “Say what you mean, mean what you say. Follow through with your words. If you say it, do it. If you know it’s something you cannot follow through with, don’t say it.”
  • “Focus on mastering one aspect of teaching each year. In the first year, classroom and behavior management is a great place to start. Each year after that, add something else like becoming better at teaching math or reading, for instance.” 
  • “You don’t need to grade everything.”
  • “Plan, then over plan, then be prepared to cancel the plan.”

Focus on relationships with students

  • “No matter how hard it gets. Your students need you to be there.”
  • “Never give up… Never surrender!”- Galaxy Quest
  • “Relationships first, the rest will follow.”
  • “Having positive relationships and a safe welcoming classroom environment is the most important thing to successful teaching!”
  • “Don’t take on too much. Lean on your coworkers. Have fun getting to know the kids: the most important thing is to build a relationship with them, the learning comes naturally after that.”

Build relationships with other teachers & staff

  • “Ask for what you need. Worst case scenario you are in the exact same spot you started.”
  • “Get to know the teachers around you. They have a wealth of knowledge and can be great people to just talk to about school stuff. Enjoy your classroom and students. 180 days goes by very quickly.”
  • “Ask all the questions and ask for help when you need it! If your teammates get frustrated with your questions or won’t help you, find someone who will.”
  • “Observe others.”
  • “Ask for help!”
  • “Don’t fall into a crowd that only wants to complain. It will take a toll on your mental health being surrounded by so much negativity. Find those people that celebrate the little things and will support and uplift you!”

Keep Notes

  • “Write things down in a notebook for reference later.”
  • “Document everything!!! Always follow up with an email for a face to face or phone conversation.”

Practice Self Care & Set Boundaries

  • “Have an out. Teaching can consume your life. Make sure that you set limits on work and take care of yourself.”
  • “Be gentle on yourself and practice self-care!”
  • “Work-life balance. There’s no need to stay at school for hours after it’s over. Go home! Also, be flexible and be able to go with the flow sometimes.” 
  • “Take your lunch breaks for yourself and leave at a set time everyday.”
  • “You’ll always have a feeling that things are unfinished. It’s normal… there’s always more to do. Prioritize and get home.”
  • “Breathe!!!!! If you are asking yourself if you are doing enough, you are!”
  • “Set a time at the end of the day and go HOME. You can’t do it all but everything you do is enough.”
  • “Always take care of yourself mentally and physically!!”
  • “You will be replaced before your obituary is published. Take care of yourself first.” 
  • “Make boundaries for yourself and parent communication. You don’t have to sign up for everything. The best thing you can do is build relationships with your students. Let parents know you are on their side. Designate a certain time to go home each day.” 
  • “Your mental health and well being is more important than your job. Take the day off.”
  • “Make sure you take time for yourself. Teaching can become a 24/7 job if you let it. Take the weekend. Make time for your circle.”
  • “Your capacity to love and care is so immense but don’t forget to love and care for yourself!”
  • “Don’t be too hard on yourself! (Which can be meant/taken in multiple different ways). Don’t work too late, don’t work all weekend every weekend, no matter how late you work there will always be more to do so pick an ending time and stick to it, take a break, you can’t do everything perfectly- just do your best you will mess up and that’s ok.” 

Best of luck on your new adventure, I hope you love it! Join our community of teachers who are cheering for you to succeed!

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Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create emergency sub planning resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE sub plans here!

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