Updated: Sep 4, 2021
You've just graduated university, and you are feeling equal parts excited and scared out of your boots? You are not alone! When I first started, I was desperate for advice from those that had been there before me. We concluded that others would probably feel the same so we reached out to some of our favourite teacher authors to share their one piece of advice they would give new graduate teachers. We hope you find these tips helpful.
Tip 1: It doesn't have to be Instagram perfect
Being a first-year teacher is so exciting because you get to finally set up your own classroom, write and teach your own programs and use them with your own class! However, don't feel like you have to do everything, or have every program, display or resource as perfect as you see on Instagram or in another colleague's classroom. There are lots of things you can do to stay on top of when you are first starting out, so try not to compare yourself to a teacher who has been in the job for 10 years or more with a lot more experience and years of resources up their sleeve. You will get there eventually! Enjoy your first year with your students - you will never forget the names and little faces of your first class.
Lara from @mrspandasclassroom
Tip 2: It is ok - Mistakes happen
Take it easy on yourself. It's easy to think that you'll be an absolute superstar, but mistakes happen, and it's so easy to compare yourself to others on social media or your colleagues. Things will come to you in your own time. Don't make comparisons, reflect, and celebrate your successes (even the mini ones).
Sally from @yearthreeshenanigans Tip 3: Do what works best for you
Out of the goodness of their hearts and experience, many teachers will offer you sound advice and solutions regarding building positive relationships with your students as well as how this relates to behaviour management. Although all advice is helpful, you need to settle into what works best for you, and what you believe in. At the end of the day, you need to stand firm in your own resolve as the kind of teacher you want to be and how you want your students to interact within your learning space. Gather all the little gems of advice that fit your philosophy and blend them together to create an authentic classroom climate that you believe in #doyou Bec from @littlemissbright
Tip 4: Accept help, have fun and look after yourself
1. Accept help - ask a million questions and accept help from colleagues, family members and the students in your class. My family still laminate for me and help me set up my classroom every Summer break, and kids are seriously awesome at completing class jobs.
2. Have fun! This job is amazing, rewarding but so exhausting, so you’ve got to have fun! Try everything, laugh at your mistakes, incorporate music, movement and the outdoors into as many lessons as you can and act a little crazy! Your kids will be so engaged and excited and have fun learning with you!
3. Look after yourself - Give yourself time to switch off and relax. Log off from social media, close the laptop and do something for yourself. The to-do list will never be done, and that is absolutely fine!
Georgia from @smartieeepants
Tip 5: Schedule time for you
Plan in social time and stick to it (the famous ‘work-life balance' that no teacher seems to master). Set a weekend, here and there, where you vow not to open your laptop, mark a paper or plan a lesson. Also, start each day afresh. Lost your patience with a student yesterday? Lucky for you, every day really is a fresh start with teaching.
Paige from @teaching6
Tip 6: Be resourceful
Resourcefulness over resources! It's very easy to get caught up with having the prettiest classroom with the most amount of resources to cater for every little concept. Having flexible resources that you can use for multiple things is ideal! As a new teacher, I spent hours and hours and hours of my own time making resources and years later I ended up getting rid of most of them (donating them to other teachers). Find a small collection of things that you can use on repeat or in multiple situations. Be resourceful and remember, your school will have plenty of things for you to use! You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on your classroom. Taylor from @taylorteachestech
Tip 7: Visit the staffroom daily
Don't forget to leave your classroom at recess and lunch and socialise with your colleagues! Building positive relationships with your fellow teachers will help with your mental health and create a support network to help you get through the tough times of teaching.
Hannah from @missgirlingsclassroom
Tip 8: Own your fresh ideas
Remember you are straight out of uni which means you have the freshest ideas! The newest research and all that pedagogy is at the centre of your mind and ready for action! You are at an advantage being a newly qualified teacher! Own it!
Jen from @goodmorningmissfoster
Tip 9: Find your 'person' at school
Find your person at your school – a mentor, a teammate, a fellow new teacher, anyone you connect with. Teaching is so much more enjoyable when you have that one person who laughs with you when you make silly mistakes and picks you up when you are having a bad day.
Jessi from @cootiesandcuties
Tip 10: Learn and try new things
I feel like my piece of advice SHOULD BE to try to pace yourself. To not try to do everything, to be everywhere, to read all the books or do all the Professional Development. But, now after 11 years of teaching, I am high fiving my 21year old self. It’s now, as a mum with a family, a life and commitments outside of the classroom that I am grateful for my eager, enthusiastic, committed younger self. So, my advice is go gangbusters, while you can but of course safely and ensuring your well being is in check. Dedicate the time while you have the time, try as many strategies and skills as you can to find your pedagogy and simply immerse yourself in the magic that is teaching. You’ve got this!
Janessa from @jemcreative
Bonus Tip: Trust yourself
Trust yourself! You decided to become a teacher for a reason, and it may be early or later in your life. To your class of students, you bring an abundance of world knowledge, life experiences and an arsenal of current teaching skills. There will be many times you have to make on the spot decisions. Trust yourself and walk in confidence. If you do make a mistake be reassured teaching isn't a solo gig and you'll have colleagues and friends nearby to provide support. You are more than equipped for this job!
Alisha from @rainbowskycreations
At the end of the day remember you are only new to this. You will bring a new and enthusiastic energy that will be an asset to your fellow staff members and your classroom. Take one day at a time, and you will rock your first year!
If you are looking for more strategies and advice for new teachers, you might want to check out our First Year Survival Kit. It is full of useful checklists, information and resources to help you get started!
Also, we have a free Facebook group dedicated to helping new teachers. We are a supportive community that shares teacher tips, hacks, resources and more. Join us HERE!
One more thing before you go...
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What to read next:
Want to know more about the contributors of this blog post? Check them out here:
Lara from Mrs Panda's Classroom
Bec from Little Miss Bright
Jessi from Cooties and Cuties
Georgia from Smartieeepants
Paige from Teaching6
Hannah from Miss Girling's Classroom
Jen from Goodmorning Ms Foster