Whether it’s your first day, first month, first year, or second year, becoming a masterful teacher is all about experience.
You are not alone! Every teacher you meet has been a rookie at one time. They know how daunting your task seems, but you will survive and thrive. We promise!
Here are four tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey as a professional educator.
ABSORB KNOWLEDGE FROM EVERYONEYou may be a working teacher now, but you’re still a student of the craft. Keep this in mind and talk with any veteran teacher willing to chat about their methods. While there isn’t a single free minute of your day, try to find some extra time to sit in on other teachers’ classrooms. Never stop learning, and you will continue to excel.
GET AHEAD IN PLANNING (OR AT THE VERY LEAST, BE ONE PAGE AHEAD)Be prepared to work three times as long as you expected. Much of your time outside of the classroom will be put towards planning your lessons. However, don’t be upset if a lesson falters. It will happen; those hours of planning may seem wasted, but they’re not. Learning what doesn’t work is just as important as learning what is effective. Also, when it feels completely overwhelming, know you are smart; being even just a page ahead of your students will allow you to keep moving forward. You got this!
BE READY FOR ANYTHINGEven if you have planned down to the minute for the entire year, you’ll learn quickly that everything can change in an instant. You are assigned to teach European History and suddenly your administrators change you to U.S. Government. These things can, and will, happen. The best advice is to be ready to say, “Yes. I can do it.” Because you can. You will encounter all sorts of students, parents, administrators, and other teachers that will change the course of all your preparation. But don’t you worry, because: Yes! You can do it!
REMEMBER TO BREATHEYou will definitely have tough days. And on those days you’ll see those wily veteran instructors in the teacher’s lounge, sipping coffee leisurely and laughing about last night’s episode of the new hit comedy. You’ll wonder, why aren’t they frantically grading papers and prepping for their next class, and how do they have time to watch TV? You’ll get there. One day, a lot of difficulties will subside as you go through the process of teaching. It might seem noble to give 110% to your work, but remember to be kind to yourself. Schedule time for plenty of exercise, sleep, and even leisure. You need this balance in your life to stay healthy and keep your wits about you when all of a sudden you have to change up your lessons!
What are some tips you would share with rookie teachers? We’d love to hear from new teachers to seasoned veterans.