As the summer winds down, veteran teachers head back to school alongside their newly minted counterparts. Returning to the classroom can be daunting for any educator, but for a first-year teacher, the excitement of the first day of school might be mixed with nerves, anxiety, and uncertainty. How do you prepare for the unexpected? What will get students engaged and excited? How can you connect with fellow teachers? Educators can recall these uncertainties, questions, and more.
PBS reached out to veteran educators to ask what advice they have for first-year teachers. Educators are fantastic at sharing their experiences, and we received hundreds of responses from teachers with all levels of experience who reflected on their time as rookies. They share with us what has worked for them over the years.
Many teachers wrote in about the importance of preparation and organization – taking notes on what works and doesn’t work in the classroom, having consistent expectations for students, and practicing good time management. At the same time, they suggested being flexible and open to making changes on the fly.
One teacher wrote in with these wise words:
You aren’t the only nervous one in the room. Students are excited and nervous, too! Remember to keep their feelings in mind and build a base of classroom norms while encouraging your students’ desire to learn.
Even as a teacher, your learning never stops. You can learn from professional development courses, collaborations with other teachers, your own research, your students, and the day to day work of running a classroom.
Mentorships and connections to other teachers are invaluable to newbies in the field. Reaching out to those who have done the job for years, and asking for help, can make a world of difference for new teachers.
Teachers work hard in and out of the classroom – and those who wrote in stressed the importance of taking breaks, making time for self-care, and keeping at it.
Educators weigh in about the building blocks to teaching:
We want to hear from you. Are you a first-year teacher, or do you have advice for one? Leave us a comment and keep PBS posted as you head back to school this fall!