Tips for First Year Teachers

Education is such an exciting career, especially for first year teachers who are anticipating being able to shape the minds of young learners. Teaching can be very rewarding, but it also takes a special person to be able to handle the challenges of this career. Many first year teachers struggle to find the balance between working with students and meeting the demands of the school district in which they choose to be employed. If you are in the process of starting out as a teacher, here are some helpful tips to help you survive your first year as a new teacher.

Keep an Open Mind

Over the years, you have probably developed pre-conceived notions about what teachers do and how they perform. Leave that behind you as you walk into your new career. From the very first day, you will be exposed to many different teaching styles, concepts, and technology and student lifestyles. It's important, as a first year teacher, that you keep an open mind about everything that you see and look at each experience as an opportunity to learn something new. Teaching actually means you will be learning at the same time as your students.

Find a Mentor

Early on in your career as a teacher, try to identify a more experienced instructor to become a mentor to you. Just as in any career, but especially in teaching, there will be many times when you will stumble over new concepts, or when dealing with difficult students or with classroom management. Having the opportunity to speak with and get honest feedback from another teacher who has been in your shoes will help you become more effective in your new role as a teacher.

Get Organized

The key to being a great teacher right from the start is to develop a working schedule and a way of managing your classes in a highly organized manner. Find a system that works for you, but also adapts to the needs of the classroom and to the school. Many teachers find the first year an overwhelming time, with multiple activities and demands coming at them from all directions. It can be hard enough to keep up with, let alone remember students' names, without a solid organizational system.

Learn to Partner with Parents

In your first year and in future school years, you will be successful as a teacher if you learn to partner with parents early on. A simple way to do this is to send a letter home with students at the beginning of the year and then throughout the school year as important events or projects come up. Make an effort to introduce yourself to parents at open houses and at school events. Ask parents to contribute their time whenever possible, and encourage them to call in with their concerns.

Focus on What You Believe in

You wanted to become a teacher to contribute to the future of learning in the generations of tomorrow. As you face daily tasks and challenges as a first year teacher, try to remember that you believe in your students, your school and yourself. This will help you maintain a positive attitude which will transfer to your students in the form of higher achievement and a more productive classroom environment.