June 28, 2015

New Teacher Advice

I'm linking up today with the lovely Chandra, from Teaching with Crayons and Curls,  to share some helpful advice for those new teachers who will be entering the classroom for the first time this new school year. 

I just finished up my 20th year of teaching!  20 YEARS!!! It is unbelievable how fast that time has flown by.  During those years, I have grown as a teacher and learned so much about myself and the students that I have taught.  While I have learned through my own mistakes and mishaps, I have also learned through the wisdom and knowledge of those teachers much more experienced than me.  As an educator, I am not afraid to admit that in the least!  It has all been a part of the growth I have experienced as an educator. 
1.  Find a mentor within your grade level!  Find somebody that you can plan with, talk with, cry with, ask questions of, etc..  If you can't connect with another teacher in your grade level, look within your building for SOMEONE that you can look to for support.  During my first few years, I was lucky to have experienced teachers within my grade level that I could seek out for support.  I couldn't even imagine getting through each day without somebody to talk with or vent to.  Even now, I still have a group of teachers that I turn to daily.  They are my support system and I couldn't do it without them!
2.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  There is no such thing as a dumb question.  If there is something on your mind, ask it!  That's why you need that support system.  Don't be afraid to ask your admin either.  Establish a rapport with them.  Ignorance is not always bliss.  You don't want to find yourself in a bad situation simply because you didn't ask about something.  I have 20 years under my belt and I still ask questions daily.  I would rather be safe than sorry in the long run!
3.  Get to know your students and their families! Take an interest, get to know your parents.  Show them you are interested in establishing a positive rapport with them.  As a first year teacher, you will more than likely be judged by just that.  Be confident, consistent, and respectful.  No matter what.  You are not going to always like what a parent says or does.  They in turn may not always like what you say or do.  But showing them you are willing to work with them will help in alleviating any potential problems that could arise.  Being a first year teacher is hard enough.  When you have problems with parents, that only makes things worse.  Remember though, if you have issues with parents, seek out help from your support system.  If you have parents that are threatening or bullying you, seek help from administration asap!   
1. Ignore that you have a life outside of teaching!  Teaching can be all consuming.  It can suck the days, nights, months,  and weekends out of you.  You will have enough on your plate as it is.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself and your needs.  Leave your bookbag in the car, don't bring things on home every weekend.  You will burn out by November if you don't take care of yourself.  Remember your support system from above.  Look to them for advice on how to manage your time before, during, and after school.

2.  Try to keep up with Mrs. Jones down the hall!  You are you and Mrs. Jones is somebody different than you.  Mrs. Jones may be absolutely fabulous, well respected, and the best of the best.  You may want to be like her, act like her, teach like her, create fabulous materials like her.  That's all fine and dandy.  But you have to remember  what works for Mrs. Jones may not work for you.  It's great to look to others for advice and lesson ideas.  But the minute you try to start running your classroom the way another teacher runs hers, is the minute you rob yourself of establishing your own identity.  You will be miserable and will burn out very quickly.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Write that quote down somewhere you can see it each and every day.  Let that be a reminder to you that you are yourself and your joy is going to come from what YOU implement and establish in YOUR classroom.  I've been doing this for 20 years now and I STILL struggle with this. Especially now that social media is right in our faces daily.  It's hard, sooooo hard.  But you will not be happy trying to be someone you are not and your student's will see right through you.

 1.  Establish your classroom community!  Start on day 1 building that community by setting rules, consequences, procedural expectations, and the tone for the classroom.  Continue to do this everyday.  Consistency is the key here!  Even if things start to feel smooth and just right, DON'T stop with the daily review of expectations.  Role play, review, sing songs, read books, and TALK with your kiddos.  Don't assume they know how to do something.  Most of the time, they don't!  Your life will be so much easier and the tone of your classroom will be so much nicer if you have established a solid classroom community. 
One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to be reflective.  It's hard sometimes admitting that we stink at something or we did something wrong.  Keep a notepad or sticky notes around, jot down things throughout the day that pop up that might need to be changed.  After lessons, think about what went really good or what really wrong.  What caused those things to happen?  Share with your support system.  Find other first year teachers and reflect with them.  You will become a better teacher each and everyday if you take the time to just reflect on what happened.
Want to check out what other teacher's have to offer?  Head on over to Chandra's blog and check out what she has to share!



  1. So very true about Mrs. Jones down the hall! My first year teaching I spent a lot of time comparing myself to others. It is so important to remember that we all do things differently and that does not make us any less of a fabulous teacher. What a great piece of advice!

    Paiges of Learning

  2. Teachers make the best people to chat to about everything school related. Friends don't really get it. Finding that one teacher that just gets you, if not a few of them, is so helpful because they just understand. They've been there.
    Early Years with Sheri

  3. I love your new blog design...it's adorable! Yours was one of the first blogs that I looked forward to catching up on after my (embarassing) blogging hiatus. This linky is fantastic...think I'll go join up!

    Shafer's Shenanigans

  4. On your other blog you had a parent brochure for the common core that I LOVED!! I even looked on TPT and couldn't find it. Do you still have that posted by chance?

    1. Hi Danielle! Can you email me at anappleadayinfirstgrade@gmail.com? I think I have what you want.



Thanks for stopping by! I enjoy reading your comments!