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Tips for New Teachers…and Maybe Even Veteran Teachers

I will begin my 14th year of teaching on Monday.  I can’t even believe that I have been teaching for that long…especially since I’m only 29.  Ha!  Don’t do that math or you will figure out that maybe I’m not being so truthful about my age 😉
No matter how long I have taught, I still get butterflies in my stomach before the first day.  I don’t sleep for weeks prior to school starting, and when I do, the “back to school nightmares” appear.  Do you have those?  (The common themes include: I walk in my room the first day, and realize that I didn’t set up my room at all.  My class won’t stop talking, and nothing I am doing will get them to listen to me.  I am switched grade levels, and I don’t know until the first day.  All of my students walk in, and I have absolutely nothing for them to do on the first day.)
The other night, during one of my restless nights, I was thinking about tips for new teachers. 

But, in all honesty, I really think these are tips for ALL teachers! 
When I started teaching, there weren’t any teaching blogs and there was no Pinterest.  Even though I LOVE these resources, I have to say, it can be very overwhelming.  You see all of these ideas, and you think you need to try them all.  You think that you need to implement all of these new teaching ideas, make the best bulletin boards, color coordinate every item in your classroom, and so on.  It is impossible to do it all!  In the words of Cara Carroll, blogs are the “highlight reels.” 
This quote by David Allen is one of my favorite reminders.
Do not try to do it all!  You will just stress yourself out.  Definitely try new things, but it is impossible to do everything!  Even after teaching 1st grade for many years, there are things I change, add, or delete every single year. 
This one is super important!  If you are surrounding yourself with people that are complaining about their job every single day, it gets depressing.  We all understand that not every day is going to be great. 
Many days may be far from it.  But, if you are surrounded by positive people, it sure helps to brighten your day.  Negativity sucks the life out of you.  If you don’t follow Miss May of Onefab_Teacher on Instagram, you should.  Her positivity is contagious!
Your colleagues have SO much to offer!  If something is not working for you, ask others for ideas!  Maybe you aren’t feeling comfortable teaching a particular type of writing, or you are looking for new ways to manage a difficult child.  Every single person in your building is a resource!
This is one that I have to constantly remind myself to do.  Once school starts, I get sucked in.  I can quickly find myself spending every waking minute (and the ones that I should be sleeping) working and thinking about school.  This is not healthy.  The evenings always seem to fly by with running the kids back and forth for extracurricular activities, homework, fixing dinner, putting the kids to bed, and so on.  I try to make it a priority to exercise.  This is my “me” time.  Find time to do something that you enjoy.  I love teaching, and I love creating teaching materials, but I know that I also need time to think about other things.
Try to remember the reasons why you became a teacher.  Teaching is HARD!!  The pay is low.  The responsibility is high.  So many people are leaving the teaching field, or not going into it at all.  It’s a challenging time to be in education. 
Teaching is not all unicorns and rainbows.  On those hard days, remember why you became a teacher.  If it was to get your summers off, and work from 8-3, you will realize that this is not the profession for you.  Because we all know….that is the biggest misconception about teachers.  Good teachers work hard, and long hours.  We don’t just leave our jobs at the end of the day.  Our work, whether physically or mentally, always comes home with us.
However, if it’s your passion, it’s worth it! 
I truly hope that you have a wonderful school year!  Love your students, and love your role as an educator.  
Here’s to the best school year yet!

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  1. Love your post Jodi! My room is hardly ever rainbows and lollipops, but my kids feel loved and take risks to try hard stuff everyday! Hope you have a great first day! 🙂

  2. Love your post Jodi! My room is hardly ever rainbows and lollipops, but my kids feel loved and take risks to try hard stuff everyday! Hope you have a great first day! 🙂

  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! These words are just what this new teacher needed to read tonight! I'm entering the profession late in the game (my own kiddos are in college) and have been married to a teacher for 25 years, so I know the realities, but it's easy to get sucked into the ideals. While I love Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, I have come to the startling realization that I need to stop spending so much time there. It's truly overwhelming. And the advice to make room for yourself is invaluable! Thank you!

    1. Thank YOU! Both you and Jodi speak such truths. I, too, am a veteran teacher, but have had to wean away from TPT and Pinterest. I have had to tell myself, "you do enough", over and over. There is SO much out there now and, while wonderful, really is overwhelming, especially to perfectionists. Thank you for reminding us what is, and always will be, a balancing act.

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