Alright teachers, time to grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and think back to when you were hired for your first teaching job. Maybe you screamed for joy when you hung up the phone. Or maybe you instantly ran to Target to get ALL THE THINGS. However you celebrated, you were EXCITED! Many first year teachers, after their initial excitement wears off a bit, are left wondering, what do I need to be successful this first year?
We have asked veteran teachers what they wish they had and knew their first year of teaching, and compiled a list of those things below. Before you read this post, or go load up your cart, remember this….YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. If you enter your first year of teaching with nothing but love for your students and their success, AND some management/teaching strategies, that is enough! However, as the song goes, we get by with a little help from our friends, SO check out these ideas from the biggest and best PLC you can find, our Lucky 2nd Grade Facebook Group. (Hop over and join us!)
Essential Things For your First Year
The old saying goes, “Money can’t buy you happiness.” This is true! It also can’t buy you a happy classroom. We do agree there are some things you can purchase that will make your year run so much better (see below), BUT the most important first year teacher must haves are things you cannot buy!
This is SO important. When asked what they wish they knew their first year, many veteran teachers will say they wish they had implemented rules and procedures from the get go. Go ahead and allow a lot of time those first few weeks in teaching your students your rules, expectations, and procedures. Procedures are SO important. (Literally teach them how and when to sharpen their pencil…trust us!) Need help along the way? There are many great products/strategies online. One way many teachers have found success is acknowledging positive behaviors! Let kids know when they are being leaders and role models or progressing towards goals! Many teachers like to acknowledge these positive behaviors with something tangible. Be sure to look at our brag tags! These can become treasured keepsakes for students! Check out our previous posts on Brag Tags HERE or in our SHOP.
Believe in your self! Your first year will provide challenges, but also successes. Go into it knowing there will be bumps along the way, but you can handle it! You went into teaching to make a difference, so believe that you are! Be willing to learn and improve right along with the students! We do know there will be moments where this is hard, so that is they the next point is the MOST important!
Embrace Your Mentor & Team
Chances are there will be a veteran teacher on your team. Your first year you might get assigned a mentor teacher. Ask them for help, laugh with them, cry with them, PLAN with them. They have done this before, and were a first year teacher once themselves. Value their experience, take what they share with you, and make it your own.
Short and to the point here. Routines and schedules are essential for students and teachers to survive the year. (Especially your first year!) However, everyday in the classroom will be SO different. Kids will be absent, there will be an assembly/field trip/picnic, etc…, this list could go on and on.Know this. You WILL get to that planned lesson. You WILL get to that Pinterest worthy art project. Embrace the change and roll with it! It makes teaching exciting.
First Year Fun to Haves
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Here are some veteran teacher approved products that will help your first year run smoothly and give you all those good teacher feels. (TIP: before you go crazy shopping, head into your classroom and checkout what has been left behind!)
Want to skip the laminating line? Many teachers keep this handy little guy in their classroom or at home.
You NEED a lesson planner. Your school might provide one. But if not, this one is teacher approved.
Want to make eye (and nose) appealing anchor charts? Check out Mr. Sketch markers!
Lastly, all teachers love a good pen! Our Facebook group recommends these pens:
Teachers, whether you are first year, or twenty years in, here is our BIGGEST tip…enjoy your summer! Remember, together we are better!