The first day of school means something completely different when you’re a teacher, especially when you’re a new or first-time teacher. Not only are you back in the familiar yet foreign environment of the classroom, but you’re in a position of influence, power, and expectations. You come with more knowledge and experience, but you’re in front of dozens of cautious, curious, and awaiting eyes. (And that’s only when school is in session, let alone the preparations beforehand.) Plus, meeting the school staff, administrators, and your students’ parents or guardians can be equally daunting.
If that’s not enough to give you those first-day jitters, you may not need these tips for new teachers. If the new gig is keeping you up at night and putting a stunt on your summer, stay tuned for our best tips for first-year teachers – even if you’ve been around the schoolyard a time or two.
#1. Embrace the Imperfect
The most important tip for new teachers is to acknowledge and embrace the ups and downs. Nobody knows everything, and nobody’s perfect – not you, not your students, not the other faculty members, etc. All that to say, nobody expects you to be perfect or know everything. More than anything, you’re simply expected to try. Try to learn and grow with your students, try to find your groove as an instructor, try to prepare your classroom as best you can for whatever their next steps might be.
#2. Don’t Do It Alone
Our next tip is for first-year teachers. You aren’t alone. You can ask for help; you should ask for help! Whether you opt for one-time help that changes depending on the situation or you decide to pursue a mentor out of the more experienced educators and administrators at your school, people are happy and willing to assist you in any way that they can. While you’re at it, don’t forget about the general staff, office workers, and administrators. Build your relationships with anyone you can because it’ll make work that much more bearable and enjoyable. You’re all there for the same reason – to help children learn, grow, and develop in a positive environment, so you may as well do it together.
#3. Prioritize Balance
Your day-to-day routine will look different than the traditional 9 to 5, and that’s okay. However, that doesn’t mean you’re on call 24/7. You’re as entitled as anyone else to unplug, unwind, and enjoy life to the fullest. Juggling a new career in education with social life, extracurriculars, hobbies, personal time, and enough R&R can be difficult, to say the least.
Here are a few quick tips for new teachers looking for balance:
- Shut off the electronics at a certain point. The emails can usually wait, and you can always grade tomorrow.
- Say no when you need to. You don’t have to become the go-to chaperone, event coordinator, club faculty mentor, or conference attendee if you don’t have the bandwidth.
- Take your days off. Physical and mental health are vital. Don’t come to school if you aren’t feeling well – especially now. If you need a day to recoup, use a substitute.
#4. Remember Why You Do What You Do
What guided you toward a teaching career? Was it an experience with a teacher growing up? Was it a passion for a certain subject? Something else entirely, perhaps?
Regardless, it’s vital to acknowledge and truly understand the impact of your career. The best teachers are the ones who have a lasting effect on a student, even if it’s just one. You’re setting children up for their future, igniting opportunities, and changing lives one day at a time. You’re helping them find their voices, figure out their interests, and discover their why. Teaching isn’t merely grading papers and waking up early; it’s something else entirely – something personal that varies from teacher to teacher.
#5. Our Final Tip for New Teachers: Embrace Your School Culture
Sure, you may not want to waltz into your first class completely decked out in school merch, but what’s wrong with a little school spirit now and again? That’s where we come in – 1st Place Spiritwear at your service. We create spirit wear you want to wear for your school and 100,000 more just like it.
You might be worried about a million things during the back-to-school season if you’re new to teaching, but you don’t have to worry about looking the part when you go with 1st Place Spiritwear. Find your school today!