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27 Things They Didn’t Teach Teachers In College

Teacher Support, Tips & Hacks

Written by: Angie Olson

I will never forget my first year of teaching. I remember having many moments that left me thinking, “Gosh, I wish they would have told me THAT in college!” Over here at Lucky Little Learners, we are always striving to make the job of teachers easier. So, we reached out to our Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group and asked them to answer the following question: What is the one thing you wish you had known that they didn’t teach you in college?

  1. How to handle parents.
  2. Classroom management, how to do the day to day routines. (hello, brag tags…life changing!)
  3. You care about every student that walked through my door as though they were my own child to the point where I am always thinking about them.
  4. Not all students are in your classroom to learn academic lessons, but how to be a kind human and recieve positivity from me daily.
  5. That no matter how many pencils you have, you will need 100 times that many.
  6. When you're “off duty” and in a public place, your teacher voice will tell the kids at the park to stop running up the slide! (And other things…)
  7. How powerful rituals, routines, and procedures are and to spend time doing them. It may seem like wasted time, but it really isn’t. A healthy classroom is key!
  8. There would never be enough time to get everything done and how much time on nights and weekends I would spend doing school stuff, but I couldn’t imagine any other job.
  9. This is a life choice not a career choice.
  10. How to best help kids going through trauma. Relationships and connecting with students has to come before academics.
  11. Build relationships with the secretary and custodians, parents and students, and rely on other teachers to help you. You can't do this job alone.
  12. How to check for head lice.
  13. Your first year of teaching shouldn’t be spent doing schoolwork. That it’s okay to leave stuff at work, because it’ll be there the next day.
  14. Discipline is not about you. You shouldn’t be trying to control them. Discipline is about relationships. The ability to talk to students and teach them trust and right and wrong.
  15. Morning Meetings are essential. I love these morning meeting slides to get our conversations going!
  16. Hold students responsible through consequences they create for themselves, because they will pick way worse things than you can think of and then you can mold that idea into actionable steps that they will understand and apply for themselves if you just let them.
  17. Managing the paraprofessionals.
  18. How to have balance with work and home! How to take care of your own mental and physical health! Have a game plan before you start.
  19. Set your expectations for them from day one and follow through with consequences. You can love them but still be firm.
  20. Smile at them. Really mean it. Walking through the halls & smiling makes you approachable and likable by the students. They need to know that you care about them. I have students that I’ve never taught before running to my room at the end of the day to say hi. Build relationships.
  21. Manage your facial expressions well! There will be things you thought you'd never hear in your life… see things… you need to keep a straight face in most of those cases because the kids are wanting a rise out of you. 
  22. Leave school within half an hour of being able to go. DO NOT bring anything home. It will be there when you get back in the morning. It's easier to get up early and start fresh than to stay late and wear yourself down.
  23. They won’t learn anything if they don’t know you love them and care. They want boundaries and classroom management. They crave it. Also, remember to teach the social emotional skills as well as good character!
  24. You don't have to (and you won't be) the perfect teacher your first year. Everybody's first year stinks…you get better
  25. Don’t forget to have fun with and enjoy your students. 
  26. Effective communication with parents is key! Dont be afraid to own up to mistakes and learn from them. The parents have the greatest insight to the kids usually and can be the best ally or worst enemy.
  27. All children will come to you with baggage…some are more affected by it than others. Love them!

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Over here at Lucky Little Learners, we are always striving to make the job of teachers easier.  So, we asked experienced teachers:  What is the one thing you wish you had known that they didn’t teach you in college?


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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.