Every year, the pleasures of summer relaxation begin to overlap with the excitement of a new year at school for children and especially for new teachers. They start to craft plans and take up the work stress that often seems to be growing like a weed.
There is no doubt about it, beginning your time as a teacher with new faces, unfamiliar procedures and pitfalls you don’t really know of yet can be a scary deal. After all, you are the teacher and you can never let your students see you sweat.
To help you stay cool at your first time as a teacher we asked sophomores who had faced and survived their first years to reflect on their failures and eventual success. Here is their advice to get through the tough time:
Take charge and stay in control
Start off with a clearly laid out plan that offers both rewards and consequences. Explain it to the kids on day 1 and keep reviewing it throughout the first two weeks. You can also make a copy of your discipline plan and send it home for the parents to review. Remember to ask the parents to review the plan along with their children and sign it.
Keep students busy
According to most experienced teachers, the best advice they believe they can give to new teachers is to have plenty of exercises ready before the first day. Children are prone to misbehaving when they have nothing to do and you don’t want to learn it the hard way. A class full of bored kids will misbehave if they have nothing to do.
Look for peer support
Don’t make the mistake of not insisting on a peer teacher or a mentor. Be sure that you have someone to go to for advice as you might not know everything about the school or the children in your first few days as a teacher.
Get parental support
Involve children’s parents as much as possible. If there is a celebration at school, send a note home asking for donations. If there is another extracurricular event, do remember to invite all parents over with their children. You will surely be surprised how helpful this can turn out to be.
The best way to not fail as a new teacher is to find an organizational system that you can live with and stick with. With more than 50 students looking up to you, it is absolutely crucial that you stay organized at all times.
Help your students organize
Don’t assume that the students know how to maintain their notebooks, folders and organize themselves. Show them exactly what you want of them on their papers and homework. Create quality standards and make sure that the children follow them.
Keep a journal
Once you start off as a teacher, be sure to maintain a professional journal. After the completion of a year, this journal will help you reflect on all your practices and allow you to add to your personal growth. Of course, don’t forget to have fun! Once you are relaxed with seeing your students every day teaching will certainly become more enjoyable for you.