The first day on the job can be a nerve-shredding experience for new teachers. Despite the amount of extensive training you’ve had to go through to get to your position, you’re still going to feel unprepared for what lies ahead.
Remember, however, that you’ve been allowed to set foot in the classroom for a reason: your clear talent, potential, and passion for nurturing young minds. Whilst it is natural to feel nervous as a new teacher, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your first few days at school go as smoothly as possible (and continue to do so).
Take a look at our helpful tips to put your mind at rest and prepare yourself for the new school year:
1. Remember that organization is essential
Before a single student steps into your classroom, make sure that you organize your drawers, desks, and supplies so that everything is neatly in its place. It is all-too-easy to lose vital items in the midst of a busy teaching day, so knowing exactly where everything should be kept will help you to keep the classroom organized. If you need a little inspiration about how to organize the classroom, this article could prove to be very helpful.
2. Establish a lesson routine and stick to it (at least for now)
Once you’ve found a lesson routine that works, feel free to go with it for a few months. Starting a job in teaching is about finding your feet, so don’t feel pressured to switch things up every lesson. You can experiment with new techniques and topics further down the line.
3. Remember that kids value passion and authenticity
Demonstrating an authentic love for your subject or the practice of teaching is vital if you want to ensure kids stay tuned-in. Rather than simply copying out a bunch of worksheets from other teachers and scripting what you have to say, try and make your lessons your own. Feel free to follow tangential paths every so often – you never know where they could take you.
4. Accept that you will have bad days
Sometimes, things will go wrong. Your students will act up, you will lose a bunch of worksheets, and you will mark a set of papers that fall far below the standards you expect. Remember that these kinds of days are inevitable when you’re a teacher. In addition to bad days, you will also experience some spirit-lifting days that remind you why your job is so important. Hold on to these feelings and remind yourself of them when things start to go wrong.
5. Try not to yell
As a new teacher, it can be easy to lose your cool with students that act out of line. Remember, however, that yelling will not get you very far and could even undermine your authority. Instead, take them aside for a stern one-to-one chat and try to solve any issues. If your student continues to act up, don’t hesitate to send them to the principal’s office.
6. Try to get enough sleep
Many teachers find it difficult to get enough sleep. Whether they’re grading tests, perfecting lesson plans, or simply worrying about how much they need to get done, teachers always find a reason to miss out on important shut-eye.
Unfortunately, teaching while tired can be very difficult. You may find that your words come out less coherently and that you become irritable towards the students. To avoid this fate, you should aim to get around eight hours of sleep every night. If you find that this is easier said than done, there are tips you can follow to help yourself fall asleep.
7. Forgive yourself when mistakes are made
Every teacher makes mistakes – that’s how they learn and grow. If you make a mistake in the classroom, try not to dwell on it. Rather, forgive yourself and try to learn from it.