When I asked teachers on the Minds in Bloom Facebook page to give some tips to first-time teachers, they came through with flying colors! There were so many great ideas that I decided to wrap them all up into a blog post. One interesting thing is that I did notice some themes that came up again and again. They included:
- Teaching routines early and thoroughly
- Implementing a solid discipline system
- Staying organized
- Documenting and/or saving everything, even if you think it is isn’t important at the time
- Relaxing, going with the flow, and pacing yourself
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I hope that new teachers will learn a lot from those who have learned from experience. So, in their own words, here are over 40+ gems of wisdom:
“Organization! Color code subjects…go as far as color coding the kids’ folders and spirals so that everyone’s social studies folders or spirals are all green…have a classroom email distribution (blind carbon emails so others don’t see others’ email addresses) with the updates for the week’s requirements and expectations of assignments and projects. Carbon a copy to administrators, as well, if any questions come about.”
-Penny Smith Smethers
“Make friends with the secretary and the custodian.”
-Cindy Bayne Hornyak and Missi Spurgeon
“Read The First Days of School by Harry Wong every year.”
-Jennifer Cramer Armour
“One of my faves is to buy fabric to cover your bulletin boards. :-)”
“Take pictures of your bulletin boards and put them in a digital or hard-copy scrapbook. Don’t reinvent the wheel each year!”
-Nena Scalf Morton
“For every handout, workbook, bookmark, letter to parents, form, pre-made folder, etc. that you use during the first week of school, make/collect 10 extra copies and start a bin for new students…when a new student comes in, you can just grab what you need out of the bin for those last minute transient students or for kids who come from divorced families (two homes).”
-Lesley Finley Hutton
“Teach and practice routines. Don’t expect students to know what you want from them.”
“Have something prepared for early finishers!! Always be organised!!!!”
“Have fun…and don’t stress if one lesson fails. I always had twice as much planned as could be done so I always had a plan B. Also, some of the best lessons were spur of the moment….it fit…the kids fit… and it was success. Also realize that the best lessons for most students are projects using what they have learned…a few will blow your mind with creativeness and show you what they learned.”
“Have management systems in place by Day 1; don’t wait until there is a problem!”
-Susan Stephanz Dennison
“Save your lesson plan books/files. The first years are so detailed . They always help year after year. Save a copy of all the first week activities.”
“Take a deep breath when you get frustrated – those moments pass.”
-Monica Sloan Rich
“Take pictures of your anchor charts you’ve made WITH the kids so you don’t forget for next year.”
-Sarah Trevino Beasley
“Learn to LOVE your students…anything…find something you like about each one. Be personal (but professional). Don’t be afraid to let your students know, ‘I’m a teacher because I LIKE people your age!'”
-Jennifer Cramer Armour
Also, when students act out and get upset in class, they are reacting to something happening in their home lives. It’s about them; [it’s] not about you as a teacher. Give them TLC and understanding and the rough outburst will be turned around quickly. You will be able to build rapport with your students, which is a very important part to establishing your classroom environment.
Good luck to all those new teachers out there, and most importantly, thank you for joining such a rewarding profession in times when we receive so much criticism from the political arena. Best wishes to you! Kristie, 4th grade teacher (20 years) ; )”
-Jennifer Hooker Cude
You can find my own collection of teacher tips (over 300 of them) right here:
You can also find more advice for new teachers at the link-up in Teaching in Room 6.
Do you have more to add? Please comment!
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