Hey y’all! Welcome back to another post, today we are going to talk about some advice that experienced educators would give first year educators. I began teaching in August 2021 and reached out to my online community on Facebook and Instagram asking teacher friends to give me their best advice. I have posted the wisdom they shared below.
If you have other advice that you would give to a first year teacher, please feel free to send me a message and I will add it to the list of advice. I hope this post continues to grow!
“The very first thing every baby teacher must not just know, but internalize as holy writ, is that the support staff in the office can make or break you. Be kind, polite, and thankful to them, seek their advice, and remember that it is they and their friends at central administration who have the ears of the bosses and control what goes in those bosses’ inboxes.” -Jack K.
“So, I think that for me, I started out trying so hard to be lenient and “cool” that I made things harder on myself…I also spent too much time trying to perfect everything I did. All I did was stress out and have anxiety. Eventually I learned what was the most important and necessary for my classes, and I learned to go into a class with the skeleton of lesson plans and let the class evolve naturally. I also believe that whenever possible, spend the shortest amount of time lecturing as possible and use more time to workshop assignments in class where you are there one on one to help students as needed. You’ll get better quality work, they will learn better, and less homework is better for everyone.” – Felicia P.
“Relax and go easy on yourself. It’s common to want to be perfect but teaching is a lot of trial and error. Every new lesson takes twice as long as you think to execute so give yourself some wiggle room. Before creating the class, write down your top 3-5 goals for the class and then design the course around those goals. Too much homework is bad for everyone. There is no award or extra pay for giving yourself extra grading. So when you think about homework think about how this fits within the goals for the class. Are your goals to help them improve their written communication skills? Is it to provide them with diverse viewpoints throughout history? Is it to help them find value in the subject of study? In my own teaching feedback I have found that a clear and well organized class makes everyone happier regardless of major. I also share with them why I assigned the homework I did. Don’t take it personally if a math major just wants to make a C in your course to get the credit and move on. Sometimes these students get the most out of your course because they walk away realizing they don’t hate history class. Some of us coming out of graduate school are used to being high achievers so we can assume everyone wants an A+. Also reach out to the failing students every once in awhile and try to help them along. We never really know what’s going on with them and some will rise to the occasion if they think someone cares. But remember you cannot save them all from themselves or whatever is preventing them from succeeding. Lastly, seek out the guidance of seasoned teachers as much as you can. More often than not, they have had similar experiences and can help reassure or guide you through the rocky weeks.” -Amanda J.
“Have grace for both yourself and your students. No one’s perfect. Also, honesty is super important 👍” -Miachael L.
“Don’t stress about trying to develop your own curriculum. Your first year is the year to get into a rhythm for how you teach and manage your classroom. The last thing you need to to stress yourself about having 100% original lessons.” -@runningtohistoryclass
“Whenever I would go to my favorite mentor teacher for advice/input, he would always ask “what do your students need?” In the fury of everything we need and want to accomplish as teachers, knowing our students and what they need should come before everything else! You’ll never regret building those relationships. 💛” -S. Baker
“Establish your rules and your tone early and often. Save all of your assigned work to students they will come back and challenge you on this. Have fun when you can.” -@hist10950
I am so thankful to be surrounded by awesome educators who were willing to share their advice. I hope you learned something from this post and will share it with other teachers!
Good luck friend and thank you for all that you do! The world wouldn’t be the same without teachers like you 🙂