5 Tips For a First Year Teacher
27 October, 2021
I read once that: "Your first year of teaching is like riding the world's most thrilling rollercoaster". And I'm living proof that it's one crazy ride. But I love what I do, and that's the secret to success! And I understand how scary and stressful your first year can be. With never-ending to do lists, grading dozens of papers and preparing lesson plans, it can be a lot to take in. But I'm here to give you a nudge in the right direction. Here are 5 pieces of advice from one teacher to another, that I think will help you navigate through your first year as a teacher.
1 - ASK QUESTIONS
Being a new teacher, you may be hesitant to inquire about the way things operate in your school, or even ask for help from administrators or fellow teachers. I'm here to tell you that is the last thing you should be doing. Big or small, it's okay to ask questions. As a matter of fact, the more questions you ask the better. This is so you can adapt quickly to your life as a teacher, get familiar with your cirriculum and lesson plans, and get to know your students and school community.
2 - IF YOU SET A RULE, YOU MUST FOLLOW THROUGH
I am the sort of person who likes to stay organized, especially when it comes to my classroom. One rule that I keep reinforcing with all my students is to raise their hand when they have a question or when they want to speak in class. I like to think that it instills in them a sense of respect for the teacher, respect for their classmates, good manners and organizational skills.
So if you're deciding what your class rules should be, always make sure that the key is to stick with it and follow through. Set a rule, and make sure that your students follow this rule. If they don't, you need to make it clear that there are consequences to not following the rules.
3- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS FIRST
Relationships are the foundation of good classroom communication and collaboration. Spend some time getting to know the students in your class from the first day. Little ice breakers that I like to play with my students is a quick-fire round of "top-five favorites". What are your top 5 favorite emojis? Top 5 ice cream flavors? Top 5 Marvel characters?
It's also just as important to build strong lasting professional relationships with your fellow teachers, the school administrators and parents of the students in your class. I think parent teacher communication has a big impact on class communication.
4 - ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B
There are forces and circumstances that arise that are out of our control. The perfectionist in me doesn't like that. But, just like many other teachers around the world, I was forced to overcome the feeling of not being in control. Once the pandemic hit, it affected education on a global level, and my class and students were no exception.
That's why it's important, as a teacher, to have a back-up plan. When your students see that their teacher can adapt to change quickly, they tend to count on you even more when it comes to their class and academic life. They also tend to feel reassured in times of uncertainty. Classroom management is the foundation of successful class communication.
5 - YOU DON'T HAVE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL
In your first year you'll face a new challenge every day, but you'll also learn something new every single day. And that's the best part of your first year. The growth can be tremendous. You might think that you need to come up with creative and innovative ways to teach or brainstorm new lessons that will keep your students engaged. Here's the secret: you don't have to.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to learn how to be a good driver. And, in this case, a good teacher. Listen, support, and inspire, and help them understand the lesson the best and most effective way you know how.
Being a first year teacher can be stressful. Believe me, I know how you feel. But I'm here to say: hang in there! You only get to be a first year teacher once. I promise you, you will successfully survive your first year as of teaching and thrive in the many years to come. I've been there, and these are some of the lessons I've learned that I share with all new teachers.
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Hello, I'm Joo. I work as an English Teacher and Department Coordinator in a public school in Bahrain. My motto is, "if you're bored, so are they." I strive to connect with my students and make learning fun, meaningful and engaging.