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First Year Teacher Must Haves

Back to School, Teacher Support, Tips & Hacks

Written by: Jess Dalrymple

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!

2nd grade group

1st grade group

2nd grade teacher facebook group

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!

Classroom Management:

This is SO important. When asked what they wish they knew their first year, many veteran teachers 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!)

Another tip many teachers have shared is to have systems for acknowledging positive behaviors! Let kids know when they are being leaders and role models or progressing towards goals! Many teachers like to bring attention to positive behaviors with something tangible. At Lucky Little Learners, our solution for this is brag tags! These can become treasured keepsakes for students! Check out our previous posts on Brag Tags HERE or try brag tags free below!

Get these on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

brag tags variety

Believe in yourself! 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.

access mentor and teaching team


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

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.

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. This commission does not affect the price of your item.  For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

Scotch Laminator:

You NEED a lesson planner. Your school might provide one. But if not, this one is teacher approved.

Lesson Planner:

Want to make eye (and nose) appealing anchor charts? Check out Mr. Sketch markers!

Mr. Sketch Markers:

Lastly, all teachers love a good pen! Our Facebook group recommends these pens:

Flair Pens:

Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens:

More Helpful Lucky Little Learners Posts for New Teachers

  • If you're new to 2nd grade specifically, you might want to check out our post called Tips For a New 2nd Grade Teacher. We surveyed veteran 2nd grade teachers and boy, do they have some AWESOME tips for teachers new to this magical grade level!

Teachers, whether you are first year, or twenty years in, here is our BIGGEST tip…enjoy your summer! And remember, together we are better!


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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.
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