Dear Future Teachers,
Whether it's years away, or as early as this upcoming fall, your first year of teaching in the classroom is ahead of you. This may seem intimidating or even scary, but that's okay! Luckily, many current teachers are available to give advice and help you navigate your first year as an educator. I decided to collect advice from current teachers and compile it in a post for you! Not only is this advice useful, but it's also timeless. Help control your first year jitters by receiving help from those who know the field best!
"My advice for first year teachers is to ask for help from the veteran teachers around you. They have so much experience and many resources to share, while beginning teachers bring fresh new ideas. When the two mix together, it can be a beautiful blend that impacts students! In addition, be mindful of who you are in and out of the classroom. Kids will be looking up to you, so give them a positive example to follow. Lastly, always remember that kids will do better than they should if someone they care about makes them think that they could." - From a North Carolina elementary school teacher
"Never forget you teach students, NOT curriculum. If you spend the time to build the relationship, the kids will run through brick walls for you. If you don't, they'll look at you like you're an idiot all of the time! It's that easy." - From a North Carolina high school teacher
"I think one of the most important things a new teacher can do is find their teacher people. You'll need them. Sometimes it will be the teachers in your grade level. Sometimes a teacher down the hall. Sometimes it's the teacher across the state or country that you've kept contact with. Cultivate those relationships. They will celebrate with you and cry with you. And it will make all the difference. I learned more from teachers who were willing to share with me than from any PD (professional development) or college course. And I learned a lot from teachers who weren't willing to share with me. Not every teacher is. I learned from them that being an island all to yourself doesn't work out so well. You'll burn out. You'll be lonely. Find your teacher people. It's important.
The second thing that I'd tell first year teachers is to spend as much time making relationships with your students as you do planning your lessons. At least as much. It will so pay off in the end. Be honest with them. Be authentic. They'll see right through you if you don't. Children are the most real people in the world. And they deserve for us to treat them with respect and fairness. Build those relationships first and the curriculum is the easy part." -Advice from a North Carolina elementary school teacher
"Something I'd say to first year teachers is to plan/collaborate well with others to bring great lessons to students. Also, build effective rapport with students and other teachers." -Advice from a Texas high school teacher
The following bullet list of advice was provided by another North Carolina high school teacher
Leave work at work and clock out by 5.
Earn respect with your students before friendship (create boundaries).
Utilize your resources inside and outside of the building.
Find a mentor outside of your schools who you can talk to about school problems.
Create yearly goals so you don't become overwhelmed.
Communicate with parents.
Keep all the positive notes to refer to when you are down.
Fail, fail, and fail some more; you'll learn. There is no how-to book until you create it.
Thank you to all of the teachers who submitted their advice! Teaching is a hard job, but you don't have to do it alone. There are 3.2 million teachers in the United States (according to Edweek.org) which means there are plenty of teachers to reach out to for guidance, advice, and support.
Teachers: If you have some advice that you feel wasn't covered in this post, send me a message through my Contact Form on my home page, or shoot me an email at dearfutureteachers.com.
Future Teachers: If you have any questions you would want to ask of current teachers, drop me a line in my Contact Form or email me at dearfutureteachers.com!