My first year teaching was nearly 20 years ago. And although I’ve suppressed many of the horrors that accompanied it, I get uncontrollable tremors from time to time.
If only I had first year teacher tips like these, I wouldn’t have wanted to drive my 1992 Saturn into the side of the school every morning…and afternoon.
First Year Teacher Tips from a Veteran Who Loves His Job
- 97% of what you hear at the beginning of the year meeting and at teacher in-services will have no value within 3-4 minutes after it is said. Because you’re a new teacher, you should go to these meetings and sign in. You may want to bring something to read while you’re there, though. If you pay attention, you’ll get completely overwhelmed with things that don’t matter. Save getting overwhelmed by things that do matter. Understand that most meetings are a complete waste of time. Just get the handouts and ask a veteran what to do if you’re not sure.
Learn to say ‘no.’ You have enough to concern yourself with. You don’t need to chair the school improvement committee, sponsor the glee club, or coach speech and debate. The only exception is if your getting hired was contingent on you accepting a position.
- Get involved. This may sound contradictory, but you should get involved, but only with things you are competent at and enjoy doing. I made a huge mistake my first year by accepting a position as speech and debate coach. Horrible experience! Not only did I know nothing about speech and debate, I hated it. My second year teaching, I coached basketball, something I enjoyed for several years.
- Return parental inquiries as soon as possible. Even if you’re delivering bad news, parents will appreciate a prompt response. In a related note, be on time for parent-teacher conferences.
- Never leave work without having everything ready for the next day. This simple practice changed my career. Imagine how great it would be to wake up in the morning knowing you were perfectly prepared for the day. This advice is especially useful on Fridays and right before holidays. While my colleagues were in a hurry to head out, I would take an extra 20-30 minutes to prepare, making my weekends that much more enjoyable.
Hope this helps.