If you feel like college did not prepare you for teaching, then this article may give some helpful advice for new teachers.
I taught for many years, and when I think back to that first year it makes me feel the anxiety all over again.
There is so much that happens in an actual school setting that they do not teach you or prepare you for in any of the pedagogy classes no matter what grade you are preparing to teach.
So let me shed some light on the things that overwhelmed me in my first year as a teacher, and how you can do some things to lessen the stress of being a novice.
The first and probably the most difficult experience for me as a new teacher was the lack of preparation time in my classroom prior to the first day students arrive.
I remember getting the keys to my classroom the week before school started and thinking, “A week will be plenty of time.” What I did not know is that in that week, I would only get a total of ten hours in my classroom and even less time planning with my team. I was fortunate enough to work in a teaming environment where we all taught the same lessons, but this problem is expounded for teachers who are made to come up with their own original lessons.
A way to solve this problem is to find out how to get access to your curriculum the moment that you sign your hiring documents. With the technology available now, many school districts are resorting to online curriculum programs that make access as simple as a username and password. If you get this information, then you do not have to wait to find out what you are teaching.
In order to solve the problem of in-class time, make a schedule for yourself for what you plan to get accomplished each day in the time that you do have, and do not let yourself leave until that is done. Typically, it is easy to start the week with good intentions, but by the end of in-service week, all you want to do is sleep.
Make sure that you set yourself up for success by making manageable goals in this area because time management is going to be a huge key in your first year as a teacher. If you have good time management skills, then you will also have less anxiety and stress. If you can minimize your stress, the rest will not seem so overwhelming.
A major piece of advice for new teachers is to always keep a healthy perspective of every situation.
This is particularly true when dealing with a difficult co-worker, a misbehaving student, or an irate parent. There are going to be co-workers who want to gossip and talk bad about students and other teachers, stay away from this! It will only bring you down.
For that student who says they love you one day and cusses at you the next, do not take it to heart. You do the best you know how to – be a caring teacher who will not be taken advantage of, and let the students work out their emotional issues. It usually does not take them long to get over being upset, especially when there is no evidence that throwing a temper tantrum is going to change things.
Finally, when dealing with that irate parent of the student who never does any work and blames it on you, it is best to find ways to get them involved. Keep documentation of steps that you have taken to help their child succeed and have a plan in place to include them in the process. If you do this, then you can give accountability back to them.
The best advice for new teachers is to do your best to try and leave your work at school.
For most educators, this is just short of impossible, but you have to be able to enjoy life outside of school or you will burn out quickly!
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