The beginning of your teaching career is an important time because it sets up how you will handle things for the new school year. Over the years, you will learn new ideas that work and toss out things you find don’t work. As a beginning teacher, it’s nice to get some insight from seasoned teachers. The best way to learn how to operate your classroom is to learn from veteran teachers who have already been through the thick of it. Here are a few suggestions from teachers who have been in the classroom for a while. Keep reading to learn some useful tips for beginner teachers.
Don’t Make Comparisons
First and foremost, don’t compare your teaching style to those of others. The most important thing about teaching is to trust your gut and do things the way that works for you and your students. Every teacher will have a different tactic and group of kids. It may take some trial and error, but find what works and don’t worry about what other teachers might be doing.
It’s unrealistic to compare yourself to seasoned and veteran teachers. As a first-year teacher, your job is to learn your way around your kids and figure out what they truly need. Over time you will be able to introduce new teaching tactics as you become more comfortable with teaching. Be confident in the amazing teacher you are and implement what works for you. This is one of the tips for beginner teachers that will take you a long way because you won’t be worrying about anyone else.
Stay Up to Date on Deadlines
Your first year of teaching will be a whirlwind, but one way to stay on top of things is to make sure you stick to deadlines. Keep a list of to-dos and complete one task before starting the next. Write things down in a planner or on a calendar. It’s also helpful to use a Google Calendar or digital calendar that sets reminders for you.
This is also a helpful tip for grading papers and assignments. Keep an assignment bin and grade a little bit each day. Don’t wait until the last minute to start report cards or work on assessments. Begin them as soon as possible. It might be hard the first year, but try not to take your work home with you. Do what you can at work and take the evenings to relax so you don’t get burnt out. Time management is key.
Learn Your Way Around Data
Data is an extremely complex thing. As a teacher, you will be keeping track of lots of things and creating data points for your students. While it might make your head spin, ask someone to explain it if you don’t understand. It can take a long time to learn your way around assessments and data, but understanding data and what it means will go a long way.
You may even have the upper hand in this area as you will be fresh out of school having learned about the latest assessment tools and curriculum models. Experienced teachers will be able to help you use them, but you may already know quite a bit more than them so pay attention during student teaching.
Make Friends with the Staff
Your colleagues will be the most important resources on your journey to becoming a great teacher. Use your free time to chat with other teachers and even the custodians. The secretaries are also a wonderful friend to have as they often handle a lot of human resources and are a useful tool for first time teachers.
Getting to know the staff in your school is a great opportunity to ask about the ins and outs of the school. You will be able to ask about transportation processes and the best way to do things. Teachers will be able to tell you protocol when a child gets sick or is absent. Use these professionals to your advantage.
Make a list of Tips for Beginner Teachers
As the year progresses, you will surely learn some amazing ideas from fellow teachers, administration, and even the students. Write these ideas onto notecards and keep them clipped together. Revisit them often whether it’s before school, after school, or at the start of a new school year. These ideas will come in handy as you learn the needs of your students each year.
Some of these ideas may involve bulletin board ideas, newsletter formatting, website ideas, new instructional strategies, or projects you want to look into. The little things in the classroom can make a huge difference so jot down tips for beginner teachers like this.
Talk to Your Students
It’s extremely important to make time to talk to your students. Talking to each student individually or in small groups allows you to get to know their personalities. They will be able to speak to you with a strong level of respect and comfort. When students respect you, your classroom will run beautifully.
Don’t just talk about school. Ask the kids about their interests, what they do at home, their favorite foods, etc. Kids love sharing their home life with you, so pay attention to what they say they are doing on the weekends and keep up with it on Mondays. Talk to kids on the playground or at recess. Some kids thrive off adult conversation, so take time to chat with some for a minute or two as you monitor their play.
Other great times to talk to them are during lunch and dismissal. If you are able, set up a lunch bunch where kids can eat their lunch with you. They will love the one-on-one time to discuss things other than school work. Some teachers use this as a reward incentive for good behavior in the classroom. Building relationships with your students is the best way to maintain good behavior. If you pay attention to any of these tips for beginner teachers, pay attention to this one.
Take it Day by Day
Each day will bring new challenges, including circumstances in students’ home life. Create lesson plans to follow, but recognize that things come up and you may have to get flexible depending on what’s going on. Sometimes the best things come from some improvisation in the day. Effective teachers know how to pivot when situations arise and treat each day as a learning experience.
This is one of the tips for beginner teachers that some teachers learn to late. They focus too much on completing all of their tasks for the day that they don’t focus on what’s truly important. So be sure to take time, slow down, and be flexible.
Create Rules and Routines From Day One
The best time to implement daily routines and classroom rules is at the start of the school year. Set up these guidelines with the kids so they understand what is expected of them and stick to them. Follow best practices but adjust accordingly if something isn’t working. Oftentimes, you may start with a few rules and add more as the year goes on. Remember this is your own classroom and you run it, but everyone will make mistakes and it may require changes from time to time.
This also includes classroom management as one of many tips for beginner teachers. There are many different ways to run classroom management with your new class and to create a classroom community where students feel safe.
Have Fun with These Tips for Beginner Teachers!
Learn to love every aspect of your job. There may be parts you don’t like as much, but stick to them and focus on the amazing parts. There are so many great things about teaching any grade level. Lesson planning may be a drag at times, but the school community is a plus. For every negative, find two positives. Enjoy your time with the kids and know you are making a difference in their lives away from home.
I hope this blog post about tips for beginner teachers helps you get ready for your first year of teaching and gives you the confidence to succeed in the classroom. New teachers need support on a daily basis, and hopefully, this helps kick that off. Take a deep breath and enjoy your first year teaching!