Saturday, August 11, 2012

Advice for New Teachers

I am joining a linky party for the first time by linking up with Linda at Tales of a Fifth Grade Teacher for her Advice for New Teachers linky party.

I will be a mentor for the first time this year and I've been thinking of what advice I would have wanted when I was a first year teacher. Here it is.

1. Listen - The veteran teachers around you have a lot of advice. Soak in everything you can. Everything that is happening to you has happened before and they can help you through almost every situation.

2. Ask questions - If you have a question ask it immediately. Let people know when you are confused about something. Most people in your school building will be happy to help. Understand that you are not alone.

3. Generate a list of class procedures you want to implement. Write down every step of each procedure do that when you are ready to teach them, you know exactly what you are going to say/model and you appear confident in front of you students. Be consistent with the procedures and know that it will take lots of practice for students to get all procedures correct. Therefore you will most likely need to model them multiple times.

4. Set classroom behavior expectations and stick to them. Be consistent with them from day 1. It is much easier start out being strict and then lighten up than the opposite.

5. KISS - Keep It Super Simple. Don't try to do everything that the other teachers on your grade level are doing. Pick a few things and master them, then add a few more things to your teacher toolkit. It is better to do a few things extremely well than to do a bunch of things half way. Understand that you most likely won't be able to manage everything your teammates are doing. They have much more experience and were once where you are now.

6. Avoid the teachers lounge as much as possible. This is where much of the gossip occurs and you don't have time to deal with that. Teaching your students is much more important.

7. Don't plaster your classroom walls with store bought posters before school starts. Your walls should show what you are currently teaching or have already taught. You should be making anchor charts while you are teaching and hanging those on the walls for students to reference while they are practicing the skills and strategies. If you hang posters all over your room prior to teaching anything, those posters become decorations and will not be used by students. It is ok for your room to be relatively bare at the beginning of the year.

8. The most important thing to know on the first day of school is HOW IS EACH CHILD GETTING HOME? And then to get them to the proper location at the end of the day.

I hope this advice is helpful.


  1. Katrina,

    I love your advice, especially KISS! Also, I'm glad you included figuring out how your students go home. You are going to be a great mentor!

    Your newest follower,
    Tales of a Fifth Grade Teacher