You just landed your first teaching job, congratulations! Mixed in with the excitement, glue sticks, and lesson plans lies nerves and apprehension. However overwhelming the first day jitters may be, these 10 tips will help make your first year of teaching a little easier.
Meet your mentor
There are so many things to learn when you start a new job. The first, if you haven’t already done so, is find your mentor and inquire about a first year induction program. Both your mentor and induction program is there to provide support and ensure a successful first year experience.
Write down your vision for yourself as a teacher
How do you see yourself as a teacher? Write it down. When times get hard, reread your personal vision statement. Setting clear and high expectations from day one will help you achieve your teaching goals.
Invest in good shoes
Those new tan heels might match your first day of school outfit perfectly but they will also leave you with swollen feet, blistered ankles, and numb toes. If you haven’t already, invest in a few good pairs of shoes. No need to sacrifice fashion, supportive insoles can do the trick for those shoes that look good, but don’t leave your feet feeling so good.
Make sure you’re over prepared
The first day, even the first month, can be overwhelming. Have a couple of extra activities planned for leftover time, print extra worksheets and materials, and write down an agenda on the blackboard to keep your students on task throughout the day.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Veteran teachers are your best resource. Whether you need assistance with working the laminator or could use tips for classroom management, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are in need of a resource ask a colleague or explore Pinterest and tweak it to fit your style and students needs.
Take care of yourself
Learn to maintain a healthy work/life balance. At least once a week take time to go for a hike, read that new book, watch your favorite show on Netflix, or do whatever it is that you enjoy doing in your spare time. It’s easy to get sucked into teaching. Take the mental break you need to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind.
Does your new school have iPads, tablets, a computer lab? Use technology as a tool to help you teach. Find chrome extensions that make life easier, find a way to survey your class electronically, or learn to embrace the #BYOD movement. Become a lifelong learner and learn to use the right online tool for the right job.
Be cool (but not too cool)
Respect comes first, then fun. Take interest in your students both inside and outside of the classroom. Your students will appreciate you congratulating them on their game winning home run or their participation in the school play. Show that you care and you will gain their trust and respect.
Demand good professional development
There is so much to learn your first few years of teaching and good professional development and training can make all the difference. Have your mentor or administrator help you analyze your teaching to find gaps. Online courses can offer you personalized professional development opportunities that can help you close those gaps.
Remember, you are only human. You are going to be challenged and you will even make a few mistakes. You might even wish you became an accountant. But the good days will outnumber the bad and things will get easier. I promise.