10 Tips for first year teachers

Your first year of teaching is a very exciting time. You have spent the last several years receiving the instruction, training, and practice for the skills that you can finally implement into a classroom of your own. However, despite all the preparation, it is easy to become overwhelmed with this step into uncharted waters. Here are some proven tips that can help you to navigate your first year of teaching.

1. Be prepared.

One of the best things that you can do for your first day of teaching school is to prepare. At the beginning of the day, walk around your room and look at it from several angles. Are there any obvious distractions that you can remove? Go over your teacher worksheets and lesson plans. Do you have enough printable worksheets and extras? Are there any words/phrases/pictures that might incite the giggles? Do you have answers ready for the most obvious questions that will come up? Many teachers say that they spend up to two hours preparing for each actual teaching hour. Writing your plans for the day on the chalk board can help students to know what to expect, as well as allow you to stay on task better.

2. Learn to be flexible.

Lesson plans are great - to an extent. If you become too entrenched in your plans and worksheets, you can miss out on some important teachable moments. Make sure that you are flexible enough that you can explore a meaningful discussion with the students on an appropriate topic that interests them.

3. Set clear and high expectations.

Setting up clear expectations and high standards from day one can help you to maintain consistently high results from students. You may even consider sending printable worksheets home with the students detailing exactly what you expect on specific projects.

4. Give, and expect others to give, respect

Too many rules are easy to forget, and most classroom rules can be boiled down to one word - respect. Respect your students, and expect them to respect you and each other.

5. Use criticism to your advantage

Regardless of how carefully your lessons are planned, or how well you manage your classroom, at some point, you will not be a perfect teacher. Instead of taking it personally, use these moments as opportunities to improve and your techniques.

6. Get creative in your teaching and rewards

You do not always have to do things by the book when you are teaching. Consider lesson plans that involve student participation. Use technology as a tool to help you teach. Consider implementing a reward system for jobs well done. Positive reinforcement will go much further than punishments.

7. Know who your kids are outside of the classroom

By getting involved in extracurricular activities, you can see where your students shine outside of the textbooks. This can help you see hidden strengths and weaknesses, as well build up relationships between you and your students.

8. It is more important to be their teacher than their friend

Some teachers will try to take relationships too far, attempting to have all of their students to like them. This can backfire, causing students to lose respect for you, keeping them from taking classes seriously. Respect comes first, then fun.

9. Remember that you are not alone

You are just one of many people involved in your students' day. Take time to reach out to parents before there is a problem. Many will appreciate being kept in the loop. There are also several other teachers on staff at your school. They may be able to help you see a different side of things when you get stuck.

10. You are only human

You are going to make mistakes. You are going to have bad days. It is all part of the process. Remember that you are human, and take the time you need to take care of yourself. When you do so, it will show in your work and your relationship with the students.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your first year teaching goes smoothly - bringing you and the students bountiful rewards!