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61 Tips and Tricks for New Teachers

July 7, 2019 by Emily

“Want to make the most of your first year of teaching?  We asked the Fearless First Grade Teacher Community, and here’s their tips and tricks for New Teachers that are sure to help!”

“Somebody, somewhere is willing to help you!” -Jessica K.

“Work on building relationships. They will rise to meet your expectations if there is mutual respect.” -Gwendolin B.

“Respect is mutual. Set firm expectations for yourself and your class. Be firm with students but remember to show them respect. Some days you may be the only person in the world that sees them as a PERSON, not just a kid” -Jessica D.

“The first week of school you may eat Chex Mix for dinner and go to bed at 6pm and wake up at 6am. Your body will thank you for those 12 hours of sleep!” -Alyssa M.

“The secretary, custodian and cafeteria workers are angels in disguise and important to your success and sanity!!” -Amy B.

“Don’t feel like you have to do EVERYTHING perfect! Focus on one thing if you can until you get a good rhythm. Don’t be afraid to fail! And be flexible—if something isn’t working after a few weeks go ahead and re-set your approach!” -Jennie U.

“Don’t put kid’s names on anything! Wait until you see who shows up, who has a nickname, etc” -Tami B

“Routine, routine, routine!! Build up their classroom routine and expectations the first weeks of school so that when you get into the fun stuff it’s not a disaster!!” -Stephanie F.

“Take the time to build routines and relationships. Nothing else is as important and you won’t be able to teach without them.” -Annde M.

“Don’t be afraid to stop and change something if it is not working for you and the class. Also, don’t feel like you have to have a Pinterest perfect classroom.. that comes in time. Focus on the students.” -Bethany J.

“Your lesson plans are a guide! Not a step by step, must-do every day. And find your people! Stay away from the negative ones who bring you down.” -Jes F.

“Consistent Classroom management by setting routines and practice practice practice those routines!” -Paula N.

“You will make mistakes, And that’s okay. Learn from them and vow to do better for yourself and your students.” -Jamie M.

“Build relationships with students and staff, take care of yourself to be at your best, and lead with kindness with your kiddos and coworkers. Mistakes are learning opportunities that are going to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” -Suzanne K.

“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” -Cheryl P.

“Don’t start anything you do not want to keep doing all year. Habits are hard to change.” -Kristi T.

“Have an abundance of chocolate.” -Cindy B.

“It’s okay to mess up. Regroup and replay and reteach the next day. Not all lessons are going to be perfect.” -Angela H.

“Not everything you are told by peers is productive. Trust your gut and if still in doubt, ask someone else.” -Ann G.

“Be flexible. Not everything you plan will go accordingly. You might have to speed up, slow down, or throw out the plan altogether and teach from the seat of your pants! Sometimes that’s when the greatest conversations and learning actually happens.” -Hillery R.

“Take time to reflect on the day. What went well? What didn’t? What could you do differently?” -Kimberly M.

“It is okay for you to do things differently in your classroom than your grade level team. This includes decorations and schedules. Be your best self and your students will flourish.” -Kimber M.

“Take a few minutes to talk to each student individually the first week – ask them about their likes/dislikes, family, etc. It really helps with relationship building and with management down the road.” -Chrissy M.

“It is okay to cry. It may seem overwhelming at first, but eventually… it will all fall into place.” -Amanda S.

“So many new teachers want to buy buy buy before they even get a paycheck! Wait a bit and see what you really need for your classroom or talk to your team teachers before you spend too much money.” -Casey P.

“No one knows what it is suppose to look like but you! Don’t stress if you don’t have a Pinterest looking classroom to love your kids and do what it best for them!” -Alexis W.

“Be mindful of what you put on your walls. The anchor charts and learning tools you create with and for your students are far more valuable. I find myself running out of wall space every year.” -Dustie B.

“Build relationships with your students, they just may need it as much as you do.” -Courtney M.

“Keep a log of exciting/funny/inspiring things that happen through the year. It is a great pick-me-up during those tough days!” -Hailey L.

“Productive struggle is powerful! Never forget that it is okay to make mistakes. This is an important lesson for you as well your kids. Some of our greatest lessons in life come from making mistakes. It is important to focus on progress, not perfection!” -Jessica S.

“It’s okay to say no.” -Skyla L.

“I wish someone had told me it would be a good idea to practice/mimic a couple parent conferences before conference night.” -Amanda A.

“Don’t be so harsh on yourself!” -Lourdes A.

“Keep a personal stash of snacks hidden in the classroom. Keep yourself fed!” -Johanna W.

“Don’t forget to laugh. There are so many times I laughed instead of cried, which helped me get through the hard times.” -Brittany F.

“Don’t quit! It will get better!!!” -Donna F.

“It’s ok to say no. Focus on your students and the most important tasks. If someone asks you to join a committee or so something extra, it’s ok to say NO.” -Laurie W.

“Take lots of time to establish the rules and work on behavior, so that you can teach.” -Randi H.

“Keep a calendar; include report cards, faculty meetings, parent conferences, data chats, testing windows, evening school events, etc. I keep the info on a calendar at school and on my phone. That way I don’t accidentally book appointments on days when I have an important school event.” -Sharon T.

“Don’t take anything personally! Parents, students, teachers, admin things get said! People have bad days and bad starts you are sometimes the first person they see and take frustrations out on! I think you need to build a tough skin!” -Mia T.

“Always say good morning and goodbye to the secretary and custodian! They are the BEST people to know at the school! They are they ones that keep the school together!” -Christi B.

“Find a buddy teacher that you trust 100%! Go to them when you need to vent, need advice, or simply just need a hug or an encouraging words.” -Dana H.

“Be teachable and willing to share. Don’t allow yourself to be an island feeling like you have to do it alone. Share your great ideas and learn from those around you.” -Amy S.

“Don’t take behaviors personally! There is always a reason for a child’s behavior and unless you’re mean to them it’s not you.” -Chrissy S.

“Your work is never ever done. Learn to leave it for tomorrow.” -Kelly M.

“Listen to what your colleagues say, but don’t get overwhelmed. Do what you feel is best for your classroom. ” -Alison A.

“Just remember you are human! Teaching is about trial and error. What works for one student, may not work for the next. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your coworkers and your administrators. You will be surprised on how much support they will give you. The first year is always the hardest and just remember we have all been there. One step at a time.” -Victoria M.

“Do all your (academic) thinking out loud. You have to teach them how to think” -Aimee C.

“Always ask questions! If you don’t know something, ask to observe it. I regret not asking to see lessons taught and guided reading my first year!” -Melanie G.

“Don’t be afraid to be wrong or mess up in front of your students. It’s a great learning experience for them, because we all are human, and we make mistakes.” -Sonja S.

“Follow through…if you say are going to do something, then make sure to do it. Even if you think it is small.” -Jessica B.

“Just love them babies and let everything else go. Lessons won’t go as planned, sometimes people/parents aren’t as nice, and things are never done. Let it go because it really doesn’t matter. Loving them will.” -Stacey L.

“Be on time for yard duty. Never leave kids unattended” -Teresa C.

“Remember to breath!!! Everyday gets better and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember you are in a profession that makes a difference in the lives of the children you teach and in the end your life will truly change for the better with each child who changes you.” -April H.

“Remember that your kids don’t know what you “planned” to have hanging up, or done. Be happy with whatever you are able to accomplish, and focus on the kids and what you’re teaching those first few weeks. No one should start the year off stressed and tired.” -Andrea S.

“For every lesson you prepare, keep a copy of the assignment (picture, exact name of the ressource, an extra photocopy…) and place it in a binder (digital file). That way, the following year, you have a very detailed account of your day to day lessons. You can then take the time to tweak what you already have.” -Roxanne R.

“Planning is essential and not just for your lessons! Have a routine/procedure for everything…from how and where to line up to how to use a glue stick. Explicitly teach and practice your routines. You will find that you will need to review your routines/procedures from time to time…especially after long breaks or if you haven’t used a specific material in a while.” -Wanda K.

“Be mindful in what you buy. Hold off buying resources until you see what programs your district uses and provides or what your team will share with you. Spend your time and money on things that count, getting to know your outcomes and creating meaningful activities or correspondence to parents (introductory letter, work work or reading homework).” -Sharman C.

“The first six weeks is about routine. And the first six weeks are the hardest part of the year!” -Mary B.

“When you make a mistake, admit it and teach them that it’s part of the learning process. My kids love it when I laugh at myself.” -Bryan H.

“Make yourself an EGO file. Folder, box, bag—whatever you’d like. Use it to store away those love notes from students, fridge drawings, thank you notes from parents and anything else you will need to look back on someday. Because one day you’ll ask yourself WHY you are doing all this, and that file will get you over it!” -Diane F.

Thanks so much for stopping by!