By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member
With a new school year just around the corner, veteran teachers are mentally preparing for how to jump back into your teaching routine. But for new teachers, there is no familiar routine to jump into. They are novices at writing and implementing lesson plans, managing a classroom, and partnering with parents.
However, this group should not be taken lightly. Research shows that teachers with 10 or fewer years’ experience now constitute more than half the teaching force. In other words, new teachers are the new majority!
So at Curriki, we feel an obligation to give you as much support as possible. Here are a few important tips to help new teachers start off their first year in the profession strong.
Manage Your Expectations
Understand that teachers have to wear many hats and juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously. Each day, they facilitate a customized experience for students while managing everything behind the scenes.
So it is impossible as a new teacher to be a master at everything right out of the gate. Writing effective lesson plans, delivering dynamic and engaging instruction, operating the interactive whiteboard with ease, making significant contributions to team meetings, and having a positive and productive partnership with parents are just a few examples of job duties that will all improve over time.
These things improve with practice and experience. What is more important than expecting perfection is to understand the character traits and mindset necessary to be a great teacher. The 11 Habits of a Highly Effective Teacher highlight these attributes that will support your success and longevity as a teacher including having positivity, being open-minded, and embracing change.
Build a Library of Practical Tips and Shortcuts
Adopt the mindset that there are multiple strategies and ways to do things as a teacher. Your job as a new teacher is to curate, implement, and reflect on strategies to see what works best for you and your students.
The U.S. Department of Education has a survival guide that covers the gamut on teacher essentials, including discipline and making parents allies. Need more ideas on classroom management?
Educator Mia MacMeekin has created an infographic with 27 classroom management ideas perfect to use as a reference card.
Connect with Seasoned Colleagues
Anyone beyond their first year of teaching can offer potentially beneficial advice for the new teacher. Seek out teachers who inspire you, teach similar content areas, and/or appear to have a teaching style you admire. Some may have one idea that interests you, while another may have a hundred. If they are willing to share, don’t hesitate to pick their experienced brains on anything from instruction, discipline, juggling responsibilities, or even managing self-doubt.
Educator Dr. Justin Tarte offers 10 Things I Wish Every New Teacher Knew, which draws upon his years of experience as a teacher and administrator.
Make Reflection a Part of Your Day
When the day and/or week is over, don’t forget to take a step back to see what worked for you and what didn’t work. It’s never too late to improve and make change with what you are doing. Reflection is also a time for you to congratulate yourself on the gains of the day. Positive reinforcement is motivating! Here are Ten Tips To Help New Teachers Reflect On Their Practice.
The life of a teacher can be exhausting in general. For new teachers, the toll can be even more impactful. Don’t forget to make considerations for work-life balance. Here are 10 Stress-Busting Tips for Teachers. Want to stay ahead of the curve of keeping a centered and positive foot forward? Learn how to practice mindfulness to keep things in perspective.
Remember Why You Became a Teacher
Finally, with all the highs and lows of the first day, first week, and throughout the first year of teaching, don’t forget the reasons why you chose the teaching profession. Your journey to get to this point was full of anticipation and hope for what you can do for students each day. Watch this TED Talk Every Kid Needs a Champion to remind you of how you have the amazing opportunity to change children’s lives for the better!
Will this fall be your first time the classroom? What is the best advice you’ve been given? What are you most excited about for this year? Share!
At Curriki, we wish you the best on this exciting new chapter!
Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.
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