Advice for First Year Teachers – 12 heartfelt videos

Hello! I made these videos over a year ago as a part of a course that I made for this website. I put a lot of effort trying to compile useful advice for first year teachers. As I look back on what I made, I stand by the advice but I wish I had organized it differently.

Anyway, if you find it useful, I am glad! Here are all the resources in one mega post!

Mistakes that I made:

Mistakes will happen

Mental health days

Your work-life balance will be broken for a while

You won’t be a perfectly postive super teacher, but avoid negativity spirals

Classroom management is where most teachers struggle

Mistakes I made

Knowing more than experienced teachers

Saying “What is best for students?”

Giving daily homework

Yes… but do not grade it daily. An assignment can get graded once a week (or less)

Working harder than my students

Do not put grading and feedback for a rough draft, second check in, final draft, and makeup all on yourself. You’ll burn out. Teach your students to look at their work and improve their own work. 

Filling time with busy work

Writing long email replies to parents 

Calling is a better alternative, wait to respond to emails

Trying to keep it all in my head

Caring too much about the test

Advice for First Year Teachers: How to grow during your first year

Make videos of yourself

Schedule time off

Exercise and eat right

Keep a journal

Join our private Facebook Group

Here is a link to some great conversations with teachers! This would be a great place for someone to gather even more advice for first year teachers!

What you should know about your students

Even high schoolers are still kids

Don’t always say what they mean. 

Need you to be strict

Students will rise to your expectations

Want to know why they should do things

Will be an adversary if you let them

So stay positive, especially after a negative interaction

What you should know about other teachers

Some may be threatened by you

Ask them for advice

Others you just won’t be friends with

Try not to show it

Check yourself for resting angry face

Mentors – get a good one

The best advice for first year teachers: Be teachable

Get to know your secretary and business office staff

You will need help with ordering or with 100 other random things. Stay on thier good sides. 

Be friendly to the janitorial staff

Introduce yourself the first time you see them

Getting your content ready before you start

Get to know what your predecessor did

Decide right away what you will continue doing

If you can use their stuff, you’ve won the jackpot

Reverse plan starting with the outcomes, standards, units you will do

Make a folder system that makes sense 

You will be making a lot of files and want to keep them organized

Don’t be afraid to do the things you love in your content area

Worksheets aren’t all that effective

You’ll probably use them anyway, just don’t expect much

Larger, less frequent assignments are easier to manage

Concurrent homework and projects work well

Outside class is great

Professional advice to a new teacher

The first day of inservice

I was embarrassed in my tie next to others in worn jeans

Most of my learning happened in my first years

Older teachers have a lot of wisdom

Keep your resume up to date

It gets difficult to remember if you don’t

Imagine every email and social media post printed and shared widely

Go through your histories and fix privacy settings. 

Caution connecting with students online

Getting your classroom set up

It can take a long time to make it look nice

Look at it from your students seats

Most classrooms are visually noisy

Less is more, simple is best

Premade posters are largely ignored

(Someday goal) Classrooms can be functional and awesome

Classroom Management

If you attended chaotic schools, chaos might seem normal to you

Being strict lets you be fun

Being strict makes your job easier

How to be strict:

Expect respect

Follow through

Invoke or involve parents

“if you cannot decide on a topic for your project, I have next hour free to call your parents and we can brainstorm together. I don’t want you stressing about this tonight!

No warnings

you can remind them of your expectation but once it is clear what you expect, they are making a bad choice and need a correction

Use the seating chart

If there are no warnings, move the kid who is chatty right away

No arguing: “The answer is no” 

Sweat the small stuff

Let fun things be wrecked by misbehavior

Never accept “I misheard you” or other BS

Allow movement without disruption

Do it again if neccessary

This one and the next one are a bit of an art form. You’ll need to figure out how this works for you.

Call out poor attitudes, expectations, habits

Avoid power struggles by giving choices

The teachers around you have the best advice for your specific students

Focus on the behaving students

Positive emails are very much appreciated

It is difficult to restart after the first days

Practicing classroom management is important. Practice how you will word everything above.

What to share about yourself

You don’t want to be a flat character

Be really into something

Share video clips of that thing with your classes

Accidentally let them see a youtube tab with that thing

Avoid only talking about just your content

Be yourself

Share when you are taking a risk teaching

Get excited about mistakes and what you learned

Be imperfect and say “I don’t know”

Any topic you dive into can be misconstrued

I summarize myself to avoid having students going home and telling their parents something incorrect

Have strong opinions in writing at your own risk

The bad things in your past can be your strength

Questions to ask after you meet your team

Conclusion

What works for me isn’t automatically the best for you

Your style will come with practice

Practice, practice, practice

Reach out with your feedback on this course

Connect on social media – see links below

I am also trying to make Facebook a better place – here is where you can join us!

advice for first year teachers is available in this facebook group

This site also has placed for teachers to post and find more resources. I hope you found some great advice for first year teachers here!

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