I have over 10 years of teaching under my belt, and yet I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about my very first day of teaching. While my first year was such a blur, I can remember how difficult it was and how much I struggled as a new teacher. The endless hours grading, the meetings upon meetings for students and staff, lots of professional development, and did I mention grading? I felt like I was going 100 miles per hour every day. And no matter how hard I worked to stay ahead, it felt like I never really caught up with all my work. I loved my first year of teaching. It was super tough, but I learned SO much! While I had mentor teachers to help me learn all the tricks of the trade, there are other tips I wish someone had told me to make my year a little bit smoother. So, I’ve compiled them just for you in this post and in an easy to download e-book!
Below are my top 5 tips for surviving your first year of teaching!
Keep a feel good file. We all know teaching can be a tough job and it can get the very best of us on a really tough day. But choose to focus on the positive! Keep little hand-drawn notes, sweet cards, and kind emails from your parents and kids throughout the years in a file folder. So whenever you have a tough day, pull out your feel good file, look back at all the goodness, and shake off the negativity.
Repeat after me…I’m not perfect and that is OKAY! Give yourself grace. You don’t have to be that Pinterest perfect teacher. You will struggle with MANY things your first year of teaching, and that’s okay too! EVERY teacher has been there, done that. Really…we totally have! More importantly, don’t compare yourself to teachers that have been teaching longer than you. They’ve been through those first year struggles. And that’s proof that you’ll survive it too!
This is year should be about trying to figure out this teaching business. You know, the classroom management strategies, how to keep up with the grading, etc. It’s okay for this to be hard!
Find a mentor teacher and observe them. Absorb all their knowledge-they have a wealth of teacher experiences you can learn from. Take that knowledge, put your own creative spin on it, and make it your own! I observed a TON of teachers my first few years. Every chance I got, I’d ask my admin for 20-30 minutes here and there to watch my fellow colleagues in action. Even if it was watching them do transitions during centers, or how they ran guided reading groups, it all helped me SO much.
Communicate with your classroom parents. Believe me, you WANT them on your side! Listen to them, help them, be positive. Respect them and they will respect you too.
We NEED to communicate with parents. This isn’t just a bonus; it’s a job requirement. Sending emails and making parent phone calls can be exhausting and time consuming, but when you set up a system at the start of the year, you’ll save so much time and start building relationships right away.
Remember to take time for yourself. Teacher burnout is real, especially during your first year when it seems like the workload will never end.
Take a step back, and take care of yourself.
Here are some of my favorite ways to decompress from the stress.
- take a bath
- go out with friends
- watch a movie or your favorite tv show
- do something for YOU that you LOVE
You can’t be an effective teacher if you aren’t taking good care of yourself.
And there you have my top 5 tips for surviving your first year of teaching!
But wait!! I’m not done helping brand new teachers out!
Did you know that my course for New Teachers will be launching this summer?? From classroom management to lesson planning tips, My New Teacher Masterclass will help you start the school year CONFIDENT and READY to begin your teaching career.
Be the first to know when the course launches in August, and grab my free e-book, 5 Tips for Surviving Your first Year of Teaching! Just leave your name and email below to grab your spot on my waitlist and download the free e-book!