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Teaching Tips for New Teachers

Did you know new teachers learn something new almost every day? Each day is filled with activities new teachers have never done before such as lesson planning, classroom management, classroom organization, and so much more. It’s no wonder many first-year teachers burn out!

Recently, I was reflecting on my first year as a teacher. As I thought about being a first-year teacher, I compiled a list of teaching tips for new teachers. These are all the things I wish knew when I was starting out as a teacher. Hopefully, these 15 teaching tips for new teachers will help you as you enter into one of the most exciting years of your life!

Don’t Eat in the Teachers’ Lounge

One of the teaching tips for new teachers my college professors often told me was “don’t eat in the teachers’ lounge.” At the time, I wasn’t certain what that meant, but I quickly found out. Every school has a handful of teachers who are incredibly negative. They want everyone else to be as miserable as they are. If you are not careful, their negativity can impact you.

The teachers’ lounge is the place where these negative people gather to complain about everything from their students to the amount of work they have to do. Maintaining a positive attitude is the key to being a successful teacher. Therefore, you must avoid these negative voices! Avoid the places where negative teachers tend to gather and be careful who you choose to spend time with outside of work.

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Find a Classroom Management Strategy That Works for You

Finding effective classroom management strategies is another one of the most important teaching tips for new teachers. By maintaining control of your classroom, you create a better learning environment for students. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a classroom management strategy. First, don’t overdo it. If you search for classroom management ideas online, you will find hundreds of results. As a new teacher, it can be easy to want to try everything, but having too many classroom management plans becomes confusing for both the teacher and the students.

Second, keep in mind that not all classroom management strategies work for every classroom. During my first year of teaching, my team would tell me I needed to use the exact classroom management techniques they were using. The problem was the classroom management techniques that worked with their students did not work with my students. Eventually, I realized doing what was best for my students was the most important thing. As a new teacher, select one to three classroom management strategies that work for your unique students.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Classroom Management Strategy

While it is important not to have too many classroom management strategies happening at once, it is okay to change your classroom management strategy throughout the year. You will likely find that your students will get bored with one classroom management technique at some point. At that time, replace that strategy with something new. Typically, I use one classroom management plan at the beginning of the year. Then, I change to a new plan after Christmas and again towards the end of the year.

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Click the image to learn more classroom management strategies for new teachers.

Find a Support Group for New Teachers

I have never met a teacher who said their first year was easy.
All new teachers are starting from scratch when it comes to planning lessons
and implementing classroom management strategies. One of the teaching tips for
new teachers most experienced teachers agree on is that all new teachers need a
support system.

Some districts offer great support groups for new teachers. If your district does not offer a support group, there are online groups you can join. I have an online group called Vestal’s Support for New Teachers. In this private group, new teachers are able to share their challenges and victories from their first year as a teacher. Free coaching and webinars are also provided to all new teachers in the group. Having a solid support system is proven to help with teacher retention.

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Start a Classroom Library

All classrooms need a great classroom library, but building a classroom library can be expensive. Often, new teachers are not able to afford lots of books for their classroom. One way to solve this problem is to sign up for Scholastic Book Club. When your students purchase books, you earn points that can be used to get free books for your classroom.

Another way for new teachers to quickly grow their classroom libraries is to ask for donations. During my first year of teaching, I asked families to donate their old books to our classroom library. By doing so, more than 100 picture books and novels were added to my classroom library!

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Remember, All New Teachers Make Mistakes

As a new teacher, expect that you will make mistakes. Even the most experienced teachers make mistakes each school year. Sometimes when I made mistakes as a new teacher, it made me question whether I should be a teacher. If this thought ever pops into your mind, remember that being a teacher is a calling. Since teaching is something you have been called to, you cannot fail. You may make mistakes, but those mistakes will not overshadow the difference you make in the lives of children.

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Speak Up For Your Classroom

One of my worst memories from my first year of teaching took place during a team meeting. The team leader was talking about an upcoming grade level event. One of the things she was discussing would not work for my class as my students had some unique challenges. When I expressed this concern, her response was hurtful. She said, “You are a new teacher. You do not get to have an opinion.” After that, I did not speak up at a team meeting again. At the time, I thought I was protecting myself. Now, I realize that I was doing a disservice to my students. By choosing to not speak up at team meetings, opportunities were missed to share what my students needed and implement plans that would help my students.

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Use Technology in the Classroom

As members of a society that is becoming more technological, students must be taught twenty-first century skills. Some problems associated with technology in the classroom include that it takes time to learn digital tools and teach students how to use them. Many schools also lack the resources needed to purchase technology for the classroom. To help all teachers with the problems associated with technology, I wrote a free guide all about using technology in the classroom. My guide answers all the questions teachers have about technology and provides lots of great digital resources.

Also, if your school does not have the funding needed to purchase technological resources, make sure to check out Donors Choose. My classroom has received iPads and other digital resources through Donors Choose donations.

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Click the image to download your free guide with information about how to effectively use technology in the classroom.

Keep a Journal

My first class was an interesting group. From a fifth-grader who pooped his pants during state testing to a fist fight that broke out over nose picking, every day was full of interesting stories. Keeping a journal is one of the teaching tips for new teachers often expressed to me during my first year. But, being overwhelmed as a new teacher, I never started a journal. Today, I regret that decision. There are so many memories, both good and bad, that would be much easier to recall if I had written them down.

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Don’t Let Other Teachers Make You Feel Valueless

During my first week as a new teacher, I overheard my team talking about me. One of them expressed how upset she was to have a new teacher on her team and how she was not interested in helping a new teacher. That teacher went on to be very unkind to me throughout the school year. Most of the year, I questioned my value as a teacher because I allowed that teacher to let me feel worthless.

Now, I realize that was far from true. New teachers have a unique energy and optimism that more experienced teachers tend to lack. Since they recently graduated from college, new teachers are also equipped with knowledge about the latest teaching trends and technologies. All new teachers have something special to offer. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

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Take Time for Self-Care

One of the teaching tips for new teachers that often goes overlooked has to do with self-care. As a new teacher, there is constantly something to do such as planning lessons, searching for classroom resources, developing a positive classroom management plan, and building relationships with students. If you are not careful, you can burn out quickly. Therefore, it is important to take time for things you enjoy each week. Also, remember to do things that will keep your body healthy and strong for teaching such as drinking plenty of water and getting a good night’s rest.

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Find Your Go-To Classroom Resources and Tools

New teachers can easily spend hours each day searching for classroom resources and tools. One of the teaching tips for new teachers that can solve this problem is to find a few high-quality places you can go to for teacher resources. Then, make those your go-to for everything. Teachers Pay Teachers was a life-saver for me during my first year of teaching. The website provides standards-aligned teaching resources for every grade level that are created by teachers.

I’ve also included a few of my favorite go-to resources for new teachers in this video.

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Classroom Organization is a Must

As a new teacher, I would not have survived without being organized. By developing a classroom organization system for each day of the week, my life became much easier. On Mondays, I planned math. On Tuesdays, copies were made and materials were gathered for those math lessons, etc. I also developed systems for everything that happened in my classroom including how students were to line up, what students were supposed to do upon entering the classroom, and how students should organize their desks. Without a classroom organization plan, the life of a new teacher can quickly turn to chaos!

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Find Teachers to Collaborate With

When you are a new teacher, you are starting from scratch with everything. You do not have lessons and resources from previous years of teaching to rely on. Planning can become incredibly time-consuming. One of the most helpful teaching tips for new teachers is to find at least one person who teaches the same subject and grade level to collaborate with. The person you collaborate with does not have to be a person at your school. One of the best teachers I ever collaborated with taught at a different school from me. If you are uncertain where to find a teacher to collaborate with, be sure to check out my support group for new teachers. Teachers in that group are willing and wanting to find other teachers to work with.

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Know the Challenges Are Making You a Better Teacher

My first year of teaching was one of the hardest years of my life. My team made it clear they were not interested in helping a new teacher. In addition, my students had severe mental and emotional disabilities. At times, it felt impossible and I wanted to give up.

A more experienced teacher friend kept telling me, “After this year, anything you experience as a teacher will seem easy.” You know what? She was right! The challenges of my first year made me a great teacher. After dealing with some of the extreme behaviors during my first year, I began to excel in classroom management during my second year. Planning also became so much easier and less time-consuming. Whatever challenges you face as a new teacher, know that it is making you better!

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Conclusion

Most likely, your first year of teaching will have its challenges. But, if you keep these 15 teaching tips for new teachers in mind, you are sure to overcome the struggles you face. To help you, you can also download my New Teach Survival Guide. Keep it close throughout the year. Whenever you experience a challenging situation or question your worth as a teacher, review the teaching tips on the checklist and record ideas on the workbook pages. I hope your first year teaching is full of memorable experiences and that it molds you into the teacher you are born to be!

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Click the image to download the free New Teacher Survival Guide!

You can also read more tips and strategies for new teachers by visiting the New Teachers page on my blog!

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