26 Best Kept Secrets That Will Turn You Into A Successful First Year Teacher

First Year ELA Teacher

Dear first year ELA teacher,

It’s your first year as an ELA teacher and you are totally freaked out. I get it! I was once in your shoes and going for the first time in a class full of students was hectic, nerve-racking and scary.

But, don’t worry! We are all here to help you. I’ve asked some of the best seasoned ELA teachers to give me their best advice for you and here it is.

Read it slowly, print it (if you want), bookmark it, reread it again whenever you need it.

Let’s start and see what the reliable veteran teachers have to say about making your teaching life better and surviving this first year.

Work routine:

  1. Mental health over everything! Remember a job can be replaced, but your sanity is more important. Make sure to take time for yourself even when it feels like there’s NO time.
  2. You do not have to do it all. Pick two or three things to funnel your focus that will be the most beneficial for you and your kiddos.
  3. No matter the chaos, just go with it! If your lesson plan doesn’t go exactly right, it’s ok!
  4. There is always more than one way to do things. What works for others might not work for you and vice versa.
  5. Ask for help when you need it and do more listening and less saying “I know”.
  6. Everything doesn’t have to be graded.
  7. If you’re not sure, ask! The experienced teachers are there to help.
  8. Never leave on a Friday without being fully planned and prepped for Monday.
  9. Don’t take work home. It’s probably not worth worrying about. Don’t give up your life for your job!!
  10. Don’t try to be perfect right from the beginning. Take time to learn your curriculum and students.
  11. Don’t be afraid to change things if they aren’t working for you or your students.
  12. Make shortcuts a priority. As teachers, we have to find ways to make the work easier, less taxing, less stress-inducing. And then, when it comes time to sign off, really do it.

Relationship with students:

  1. Start stricter than you are because you can ease up and enjoy, because it is harder to reel in when you have been too easy.
  2. If you are wrong or make a mistake, own it, because you will model that your room is a place where we learn from our mistakes.
  3. The little things matter. If there are opportunities to build connections or teachable moments for your students, they’re more important than anything else you have planned that day.
  4. Kids work for people they feel respect and appreciate them.
  5. Choose your battles. Figure out the rules that you are going to enforce, and then die on those hills.
  6. Get to know your students and find ways to show them you are interested in them as individuals.
  7. Don’t engage in power struggles – once you do, the student has already won! Be firm, but compassionate!
  8. Be strong in discipline, but show them you care about them as people. They will love you, if they know you love them.
  9. Don’t take anything the kids say personally. Don’t give a child the power to hurt your feelings or manipulate your emotions because they’ll definitely try!
  10. The students will give you attitude at times. Try to laugh with them as much as you can.
  11. Be consistent and set boundaries. Consistency and structure make the day easier for you and your students — especially the ones who don’t have it at home.
  12. Expect the unexpected, let nothing rattle you. Have a few comebacks ready to go when kids try to shock you!
  13. Laugh at yourself. Be the role model that shows them to enjoy life, even the mistakes.
  14. Don’t tell them personal information – keep it light, they are your students, not your friends.

The most important piece of advice:

Whenever you’re overwhelmed or anxious, breathe and tell yourself “I CAN DO THIS!” Because you can!

Dear first year ELA teacher, congratulations! First year is tough, but you are tougher! Take all this excellent advice and make it your own.

Have an amazing first year and remember we are all here to support you! If you want more tips, tricks, inspired advice and excellent resources throughout the school year, right in your inbox, subscribe below for free to the Snappy Den Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial