I’ve been working on this for some time but don’t think I should finish it. It is turning into a book. I’ll publish it as a daily blog, print it out, and start making a simpler resource that has simple reminders and checklists.
This first-year teacher resource is a comprehensive outline of everything a teacher needs to know to prepare for and thrive in their first year as a teacher. This is all of the stuff that I wish I knew as a first-year teacher!
But enough about me.
You took the plunge, and now you’re about to embark on your first year of teaching. It can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help make your transition into the world of teaching easier. Here we’ll cover some of the basics and show you the top resources for first-year teachers and how you can use them to make your first year in the classroom a success.
Keep this page as a reference. It has days and weeks worth of valuable advice, so do not overwhelm yourself trying to do it all right now. Some of the advice is for the summer before you start. Some will help you in the second half of the year. It is all here to help you have a successful first year.
The first year is hard, but with persistence and planning it can be much easier.
Sections of this resource:
Table of Contents
First year teacher resource – Part 1)
See and believe in yourself as a teacher
Be able to stand up to the pressure of being a first-year teacher.
The advice is structured to follow the advice of the book Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most. The authors of this book have great advice that I would consider a prime first year teacher resource: ‘Wear a COTE.’
‘COTE’ stands for Self-Confidence, Optimism, Tenacity, and Enthusiasm.
As a first-year teacher starting out on this new journey, one of the most important things to develop is your confidence in yourself as the adult in the room. It’s time to start believing that you are capable of effectively managing your classroom and tackling difficult situations – because it is totally within your power! Start by affirming to yourself that you will handle things with grace and patience, no matter what comes up. Even if it seems intimidating at first, remind yourself of all the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired during your preparation for this job. Outline plans ahead of time so you can stay organized and be prepared. Above all else, never underestimate the importance of being an authority figure – nurture relationships with your students but also remember the critical role teachers play for them!
If you need to stand in front of a mirror saying ‘I expect you to be working on the classwork’ as sternly as you can, do it. It’ll help you be more self-assured when the time comes in the classroom. Remember, no-one is perfect their first year. You’ll improve very quickly with practice!
Developing your optimism as a professional and learner is the best way to set yourself up for success. Before you start school, take some time to stop and reflect on what you are looking forward to and note any potential areas of growth or improvement. Strategize how you can create positive relationships with your colleagues and students by using empathy and assertiveness if needed. Last but not least, ask for help! There is probably someone more experienced than you who would love to share their wisdom with you. Having optimism and cultivating strong relationships will give you the best chance at being successful this upcoming school year so make sure to include it in your plan before diving into teaching.
Developing tenacity in this new role is essential to get through all the challenges and change you will face in the classroom. It’s important to have resilience when embracing and navigating all of the different aspects of being a new teacher. To build this tenacity, think of all your strengths as a potential teacher and use them to your advantage. Optimism, openness to feedback, and an overall positive attitude towards education are great qualities that will help you cultivate true tenacity as a first year teacher. As long as you keep these characteristics close at hand, you’ll find that these successes are even more satisfying than any challenges you may face!
Teaching has been described as an energizing, rewarding journey and as a first-year teacher embarking on this road, enthusiasm is your key. Focusing on the positive aspects of teaching like sparking children’s imaginations, inspiring them to expand their knowledge and empowering them to reach their potential can make every challenging step more manageable. By surrounding yourself with motivating people, resources and materials, you will be able to cultivate the kind of enthusiasm that encourages your students and colleagues alike. An energetic attitude will not only benefit you, but it will help bring out the best in everyone around you so don’t forget to stay plugged into all that keeps you engaged in the teaching process!
If nothing else, look for positive teachers on YouTube that can be your companions in your down time!
My bonus bits of advice:
One of the best pieces of advice I’d like to give new teachers is to make use of visualization and meditation. The practice of wiring your brain for success and visualization can give you a huge leg up during your first year in the classroom. By using meditation and visualizing your ideal classroom and a successful school year, you’ll give yourself an amazing confidence boost when it really counts. Trust me – these techniques really work!
The science of meditation and visualization has developed quickly in the past few years, it’s worth taking a look.
Take a look at these affirmations and choose a few to make a regular part of a visualization/meditation/affirmation routine.
- I see myself as a teacher who is passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of my students.
- I see myself as a teacher who is knowledgeable in my content area and who is able to effectively communicate that knowledge to my students.
- I see myself as a teacher who is patient and who is able to work with students of all abilities.
- I see myself as a teacher who is creative and who is able to engage my students in learning.
- I see myself as a teacher who is caring and who is able to build relationships with my students.
- I see myself as a teacher who is fair and who is able to treat all of my students equally.
- I see myself as a teacher who is organized and who is able to keep my classroom running smoothly.
- I see myself as a teacher who is flexible and who is able to adapt my teaching to meet the needs of my students.
- I see myself as a teacher who is committed to lifelong learning and who is always looking for ways to improve my practice.
- I see myself as a teacher who loves what I do and who feels lucky to be able to work with such amazing students every day!
First year teacher resource – Part 2)
Prepare for the first year
Being prepared is essential for any teacher, especially in your first year. Make sure that you have all the materials and resources necessary to teach your classes effectively. Take time to get familiar with the curriculum and review student data so that you can be as effective as possible when it comes to teaching them. It’s also important to practice teaching lessons and activities before delivering them in front of a class. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to manage your classes.
Have extra resources ready in case any students need extra help or if anyone finishes their work early. It’s also helpful to have backup plans for lessons just in case something unexpected happens during class time or technology fails unexpectedly. Being prepared will not only save time but it will also give you more confidence when teaching your classes!
Better (in my opinion) advice
Have students learning a skill or completing a long term project in the background of your daily lessons. For example, I would teach my science students TinkerCAD or have a longer ADI lab ongoing. This way, you can teach your lesson, give a short practice, and give the rest of the time for the ongoing lab. This makes it much easier to accommodate shorter or longer lessons, give you a break (workdays on the longer projects) and make it so that your students always have something to be working on.
Another key to success is being organized. This means having a well-organized classroom, lesson plans, and materials. It also means being able to keep track of your students’ progress and grades.
Organization is key when it comes to teaching. It’s essential that you have all your materials ready before class starts so that you don’t waste valuable time searching for notes or lesson plans during class time. Additionally, having an organized classroom environment will keep distractions down and make it easier for students to focus on their work. To stay organized, use a planner or calendar app to keep track of important dates like tests, quizzes, projects, etc., and set reminders for yourself when necessary tasks need completing.
Online Learning Platforms
One of the most useful resources available today is online learning platforms such as Schoology. These platforms provide a space where students and teachers can interact outside of the traditional classroom setting while also offering access to a variety of tools such as course material delivery systems, assignment tracking tools, discussion forums, virtual whiteboards, and more – all from one convenient location! With these powerful tools at your fingertips, you’ll be able to keep track of student progress and ensure that everyone stays engaged throughout the school year.
You’ll want to get familiar with the LMSs that your students already know. You are free to introduce other tools, but each school will have a LMS that is most familiar. It’ll be easiest to just use the one they already know.
Know Your School Policies
It’s important that new teachers familiarize themselves with the school’s policies so that they can abide by them throughout the year. The policies should include information about grading procedures, discipline systems, dress codes, attendance rules, etc., so be sure to read through them carefully before getting started in the classroom. Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns regarding policies at your school don’t hesitate to reach out to administrators or other teachers who may have more experience working within those guidelines!
At the same time, you’ll soon discover that not all policies are followed. As you get started, notice which policies are or aren’t followed. Often the handbook is stricter than the reality on the ground, so be aware of your surroundings. Knowing which rules to enforce strictly is a big part of finding your style as a teacher.
Assess your students’ progress regularly (without creating more work than you can handle)
It is true that essay and short answer questions are the best way to assess what your students have learned. Ideally, you’ll assess them for everything you teach. Unfortunately, there is just no way to keep up with that workload. So you will need to find fast ways to learn what your students know.
Exit tickets are a quick and straightforward way for teachers to assess what their students have learned. They provide an opportunity for the teacher to gauge understanding in an efficient manner that is much less time-consuming than formal testing. Through requiring students to answer a key question or two, teachers can gain an understanding of each student’s grasp of the material in an informal setting. Furthermore, exit tickets can be tailored to incorporate any type of assessment such as multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, or written responses. Exit tickets are perfect for gauging knowledge on the last lesson before the end of the day or even at random points whenever the instructor needs a gut check on his or her pupils’ progress. With a fast glance, you can decide what you need to reteach.\
Utilizing an LMS to grade student quizzes can be highly beneficial for instructors. Not only does it help streamline the workload and save time, but it also ensures accurate and consistent grading throughout the semester. An instructor can quickly upload questions and answers, designate point values, and create specific rubrics to be applied – allowing a quick and easy assessment of submitted material.
Getting an automatic grade when a student finishes a quiz is a survival strategy that, while imperfect, will help save your sanity and help you have time for all the other things you’ll need to be doing.
Make sure your students are engaged in learning.
Use a variety of teaching methods.
Assessment and grading practices
First year teacher resource – Part 3)
Prepare for the first day
Be consistent with your discipline.
As a new teacher, it is absolutely essential that you stay true to your word. If you tell your students you will give them a consequence if they misbehave in any way, then make sure you actually do. One trick that really works for setting an expectation with students is emphasizing what you would like them to do instead of repeating warnings. For example, expressing such things as “my expectation is that you will be on task” or “my expectation is that we all respect each other’s property” can set the tone and help manage the classroom. Being consistent in this tone of voice and setting expectations rather than giving warnings will help maintain order in the classroom and ensure that there are appropriate consequences every time.
You will be so glad that you listened to this advice, new teacher! Establishing positive relationships in the classroom with boundaries is absolutely essential. Being consistent is key to successful classroom management, and it is important when giving consequences that you actually follow through on what you say. Give clear expectations to your students at all times using strong language such as: “my expectation is that you will be…”, rather than a first warning. If any situations become difficult, simply address the issues in the hallway with the student for more clarity and distraction-free environment. Your students will appreciate your consistency and respect the boundaries which are set for them.
Establish rules and procedures for the first day of class.
Get to Know Your Students
One of the most important things you can do for your students is to get to know them. Each student has their own unique background, interests, and goals. Take some time to get to know each student and learn about who they are as individuals. This will help you understand where they are coming from and see how they interact with other students in the classroom. Additionally, learning more about each student can also help you identify any potential challenges or difficulties that could arise during the school year.
First year teacher resource – Part 4)
Thrive, not just survive as a teacher
Create a Positive Classroom Environment
Creating a positive classroom environment is essential for a successful first year of teaching. This means making your classroom a safe and welcoming place for all students. It also means establishing rules and procedures that are fair and consistent.
Get to Know Your Students
Getting to know your students is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful first year of teaching. This means taking the time to learn about their interests, backgrounds, and needs. It also means building relationships with them and their families.
Another important quality for a successful first year of teaching is flexibility. This means being willing to adjust your plans and procedures as needed based on what’s happening in your classroom. It also means being open to feedback from your students and colleagues.
Patience is another important quality for a successful first year of teaching. This means being patient with yourself as you learn the ropes, as well as with your students as they learn new material. It also means having patience when things don’t go as planned.
Have a Sense of Humor
A sense of humor is another important quality for a successful first year of teaching. This means being able to laugh at yourself and your mistakes, as well as finding ways to lighten the mood in your classroom when things get stressful. It also means using humor to build relationships with your students
Communicate with parents and guardians.
Building relationships with students
Encourage positive behavior.
Take it to the next level
Professional Development Opportunities
Another great resource for first-year teachers is professional development opportunities. Many local school districts offer professional development classes tailored specifically to new teachers that can provide invaluable insights into classroom management and other essential teaching skills. Additionally, many states also have their own statewide teacher associations which provide access to exclusive conferences and events where new educators can network with experienced professionals in their field and learn best practices from their peers.
Many schools offer mentorship programs that pair experienced teachers with new teachers. These mentors can provide invaluable guidance as you navigate the waters of becoming a teacher. They will be able to answer questions and provide insight into what works best in their classrooms. This kind of relationship is especially useful if you have questions about classroom management or student-teacher relationships. Mentors can also help you develop lesson plans and introduce you to other teachers at the school who may have similar interests or expertise.
There are countless online forums where teachers can connect with one another and share resources, advice, and peer support. Many of these forums are organized by subject area or grade level so that members can connect with people who teach the same subjects or work with similar age groups. These forums also provide an opportunity for members to ask questions and get feedback from other experienced teachers about how best to handle certain situations in the classroom. Some of these forums even offer virtual professional development sessions where members can further their learning about topics related to teaching and education.
Every month, there are new books, magazines, journals, newsletters, blogs, and podcasts created specifically for educators like yourself who are looking for resources and support in their field. Whether it’s advice on classroom management strategies or tips on how best to use technology in your lessons, there is no shortage of educator-focused publications out there that will give you valuable information about all aspects of teaching. Be sure to keep an eye out for any new publications that come out each month – they could be just what you need when it comes time to plan your next lesson!
Lesson Plans & Teaching Curriculum
One of the most important resources for any teacher is an effective lesson plan. When it comes to lesson plans, there are two main approaches: creating your own or using pre-made ones provided by various websites and organizations. If you choose the former, there are many online templates available that can help guide you in creating an effective lesson plan that meets all state standards. If you opt for the latter option, there are several websites dedicated exclusively to providing downloadable lesson plans designed specifically for teachers at all grade levels and with varying subject matter expertise.
Get to Know Your Students
Getting to know your students is an important part of being a successful teacher. Take time during your prep periods or after school hours to talk with students about their goals and interests, as well as problems they may be having with their studies or at home. This will help you develop personal relationships with each student, which will make them feel more comfortable coming to you for help or advice when needed. Additionally, knowing each student individually will make it easier for you to create lesson plans tailored specifically for their needs and interests, which can lead to better engagement in class.
Make Connections With Other Teachers
It’s always a good idea to connect with other teachers at your school—not only those who teach similar subjects but also those who teach different ones! Establishing professional relationships with colleagues can be beneficial not only when it comes to discussing pedagogy but also when it comes to seeking advice on classroom management issues or simply venting about challenging days in the classroom! Making connections with other teachers can provide much-needed support during stressful times throughout the school year.
Create a Positive Environment
The atmosphere you create in your classroom will have a major impact on the success of the school year. Make sure you create an environment that encourages learning, exploration, and collaboration. This means establishing rules early on and reinforcing them consistently throughout the year. It also involves creating incentives that motivate students to work hard and stay focused on their goals. Additionally, set up activities where students feel comfortable expressing themselves openly as this will create an atmosphere of trust between teacher and student.
As a new teacher there may be days where it feels like everything is going wrong—but don’t worry! There are plenty of people who want to help make your first year teaching experience better. Reach out to experienced colleagues or mentors, they can provide valuable advice on how best to handle certain situations or how best to reach certain students with particular learning styles or backgrounds. Additionally, take advantage of professional development opportunities provided by your school district since these are designed specifically with new teachers in mind and offer great insight into what it takes to be successful both inside and outside of the classroom as a first-year teacher!
Being prepared for your first year as a teacher is essential for success in the classroom! By getting to know your students, staying organized with materials and assignments, and understanding school policies; you’ll be well on your way towards making this an enjoyable experience for everyone involved! With these tips in mind, you can enter into your first year confident that you’ll make a positive impact on your students’ lives while also gaining valuable experience along the way. Good luck!
As a first-year teacher, getting off on the right foot is essential for setting up future success in the classroom and beyond! Taking the time to create a positive atmosphere for learning, being prepared for each lesson, and accepting any offered support will go a long way towards ensuring you have a successful first year of teaching! These tips should help make your transition into teaching much easier! Good luck!
Your first year as a teacher can be overwhelming but also incredibly rewarding if approached properly! From preparing lessons ahead of time and getting familiar with student data, getting to know each student on an individual level, and connecting with other teachers—these tips should help ease any anxiety associated with starting this new chapter in life! Remember that although mistakes will likely happen along the way—and that’s ok!—with hard work and perseverance, there’s no limit on how successful your teaching career can become! Good luck!
Transitioning into teaching can be an overwhelming experience but thankfully there are plenty of resources available that make it easier for first-year teachers like yourself. From creating your own lesson plans or utilizing pre-made ones from various sources; attending professional development courses; or taking advantage of online learning platforms – these resources will help ensure that your transition into teaching is successful! Good luck!
Entering into the world of teaching as a first year teacher is an exciting but intimidating experience—but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! There are plenty of resources available today that will help make your transition into teaching easier and more successful, including mentor programs within schools, online forums for educators, and educator publications full of helpful advice specific for your needs as a teacher. With these helpful tools at your disposal, we know that you’ll do great things in your new position! Happy teaching!