Dear New Teacher

I have had a few new teachers ask for my advice and words of wisdom so I took some time to really sit down and think about what is important for a new teacher to know. As I compiled my thoughts, I realized that the things I want to say really apply to every teacher not just new teachers. So veteran teachers these are for you too. I posted these tips on Instagram but I felt they deserved a more detailed explanation than the allotted character limit. 

It is VERY IMPORTANT for you to know what you are teaching. You may already know the general topics but it is important to know and understand the depth to which you need to teach these topics. I'm not saying that you need to memorize your entire curriculum over the summer or be an expert. I am however encouraging you to take time to read your standards and do the following:

- List ideas you have for lessons
- List the things you might need to successfully teach those lessons
- Research anything in your curriculum that you don't know or don't understand
- Make a note of things that you aren't sure about so that you can ask later

This seems obvious and easy but building REAL relationships takes WORK!
Your number one priority is to build relationships with your students. Get to know them and let them get to know you too. Don't tell them your entire life story, but let them know what things you like and dislike. Find things that you have in common and build on that. Allow your students to see that you are a person as well as their teacher. Let them know that you are supportive of them beyond their academics and that you genuinely care about each of them.

You also have to build real relationships with your students' parents. Let them know that you are a team and your job is to help them raise a happy, healthy, child during your time together. While a parent is a child's number one fan, let them know that you run a pretty close second to that. They are sending you their best everyday. Your job will be that much easier if you have parental support.


No one likes a flip flopper especially children. After you have decided on rules and expectations with your class, be sure that you are consistent with what is and is not acceptable. Your students want to know what to expect from day to day. Being consistent will help things run more smoothly.

Really hear what your students are telling you. Really hear what you students are not telling you. You learn a lot about students when you simply take the time to LISTEN.

You know the saying "Honesty is the best policy". This applies to your classroom too. Be honest with your students. If you aren't feeling well, tell them. If you're excited about something, tell them. If they ask you a question that you don't know the answer to, tell them that too! I always go with, "You know, I'm not really sure about that but we can look it up together." When you're wrong be honest and apologize. Honesty is a big part of the process of building trust and maintaining relationships with your students. All of this helps model for students exactly what you expect from them.

You're going to make mistakes.
Every idea won't work out perfectly.
Every lesson won't be your best.

Reflecting gives you an opportunity for a fresh start. It offers you the ability to learn from your mistakes, fix them, forgive yourself for them, as well as improve your planning and instruction. The key to reflecting is to be honest with yourself, accept imperfection and be willing to do better.

Being a new teacher doesn't mean you need to have everything handed to you. You're a grown up. You have a degree or even multiple degrees and bring experiences to the table. Do not feel like this means you have to take on everything, but it is important that you offer to do things you are capable of doing yourself and not waiting around for someone to do it for you because you're new.

Things change ALL THE TIME and that's okay.
As hard as you might try, you won't be able to control every aspect of your day. It's important to go with the flow. If something has to change in your day, go with it. Use it as a teachable moment and show your students how to be flexible.

If you don't know something, ask. If you need help with something, ask. Don't wait until you are overwhelmed, ask for help when you need it. There is nothing about this job that you have to do on your own. Find a buddy, build a support system, go to someone that you believe can help you. It doesn't matter if that person is a teacher on your grade level, a teacher in your school, someone you met on social media, or someone who isn't even a teacher at all, just do it!
You will be thankful you did.

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