Welcome back! I cannot wait to share Part II of this mini series with you! Over 30 teachers with a combined experience of 170+ years in the classroom have poured out advice.
If you haven’t read Part I yet, go ahead and do that first by clicking here & when you’re finished head back over to Part II.
Again, before we dive into it I have to thank all of the teachers that participated and let you know where to find them in this online teaching community. All of their responses to the given questions will be posted anonymously throughout this series; however, I want you to know where and how to find them online so that you can connect and collaborate with them.
Thank you to all of these lovely ladies for contributing….
Elementary Teacher Instagram Accounts:
Teaching with Behavior – Special education teacher of students with Autism.
Elementary Teacher Blogs:
Middle School Teacher Instagram Accounts:
Middle School Teacher Blogs:
High School Teacher:
Teacher Talk: Advice for Teachers from Teachers
Part II: What would you love to go back and tell yourself before your 1st year of teaching?
- Go to as many PD opportunities as you can. Ask as many questions from others as you can!
- Focus on surviving and learning the ropes. The creativity you long for will come in time so don’t stress if things aren’t just the way you imagined they would be.
- Be firm with your classroom management, but be realistic too. Know yourself and know what you can and can’t tolerate.
- 1. Every hard experience is going to help you in the long run and will make you more confident. 2. Parents are your friend- if they like you, your life will be easy. 3. Pick a couple of things to do well, don’t try to do everything.
- Your kids may not get it the first time and that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Take your time, go slow so you can go fast later.
- You did the best you could. All that matters is that you are helping them to be better members of this society, not the math. Sometimes math is the least of their worry, so take that into consideration.
- To not let the “fresh blood,” “its your first year,” “you won’t do that when you have been teaching as long as me” comments bother me. My passion, my drive, and my love of teaching is why I do what I do, not because I’m a first year teacher.
- Collect useful things that will apply to any grade level you might teach. An adorable alphabet poster won’t be helpful if you end up in 7th grade, but sticky notes and flair pens are forever.
- Ask for help. I put myself on an island as I needed everything to look Pinterest worthy. I wish I would have asked for more help from my colleagues and accepted the “boring” that they did offer.
- You can’t do it all (even though it seems like everyone else is) and you will have to change your original plan at some point whether it be a lesson plan, management plan, organization, decoration.
- This year is going to be hard! I went into my first year just way too confident and cocky. Yes, I was strong in my student teaching experience but I still had so much to learn. I wish I could tell myself that to be a teacher means to always be a learner because I definitely didn’t live by that my first year.
- RELAX & stop trying to make everything perfect…
- You’ll make it through this, and the world won’t end.
- Your first year will be incredibly hard and you will feel like a complete failure, but keep going!
- Don’t have such a bad attitude!
- You must be an advocate for yourself in order to be an advocate for your students! Don’t take no for an answer or let people intimidate you with their “experience” or position.
- It’s goes by SO fast and your first class will always have a special place in your heart so enjoy it while you can!
- I would love to go back and tell myself to not stress as much and to take the time to enjoy and appreciate being a new teacher and cherish all of the memories because your first year will fly by!
- Not everything is going to be perfect all the time and IT’S OKAY.
- Enjoy it! Have fun. Get your Masters now.
- Take pictures and stay organized! Ask for help if you need it!
- Your knowledge and opinion is valuable, don’t be afraid to speak up to those more veteran teachers. Ask questions, state your case, and stay humble.
- Be thankful that people want to help you instead of having too much pride to take help. You can’t grow if you don’t try new things from other people.
- Be kind and nurturing, but remember that you aren’t their friends. Boundaries are important, especially when it comes to classroom management. It is vital to be patient and understanding as well, and that will set you apart from other teachers, but keep your expectations high.
- Organize as you go! I know it’s hard to prioritize organizing digital files and hard copies when you’re in the middle of your first year, holding on for dear life, but your future self will thank you. I didn’t really organize files until my second year and I ended up having to recreate the wheel more than I would have liked. Experiment with Google Drive, binders, or an old-fashioned file cabinet, but find a way to keep track of your lessons and documents so the following year, you can focus on making things better and not remaking them completely.
- You don’t have to try to do it all! Pick one or two things a year to get better at–then add another thing the next year and so on. I had so many wonderful, experienced teachers around me that I tried to keep up with. Guided reading, math stations, science experiments, interactive notebooks–it was all so overwhelming. Once I gave myself a break and knew that my students would benefit from my teaching even if it wasn’t the picture perfect way, I started to not be as stressed.
- Ask more questions.
- Not everything has to be perfect. Not every bulletin board has to be straight.
- You don’t have all of the answers and that’s okay! Allow your students to partner with you in the exploration process. Be both a teacher and a student.
- Stick to the basics!! Keep it simple, focus on the kiddos, feel the freedom to fail and get back up! That’s the only way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t! Your kiddos will learn, even on days when you feel like you don’t have it all together!
- Don’t try to do everything at once!
- You got this! You’re going to do an amazing job! Do not compare yourself to veteran teachers. They too used to be in your shoes as a beginner.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you learn, grow, and are encouraged as you read through these posts. Be sure to take time to reflect on your own teaching experience and what you would go back and tell yourself before your first year. Check back Friday to read Part III as these teachers share all the advice they’d give a first year teacher.