When it comes to teaching, the first year is undoubtedly the most difficult. It doesn’t matter how good your training was or how much time you spent student teaching. Those things are all good, but there is no comparison to being alone in a classroom and wholly responsible for the learning of anywhere between 20 and 100 students, depending on what grade you are teaching. It is trial by fire in its purest form. Fortunately, it is possible to survive your first year of teaching and live to teach another year. If you are preparing for your first year of teaching, here are some tips that will help you to make it the best year possible.
First and foremost, do not try to do it yourself. If your district has a formal mentoring program, use it. If not, find an informal mentor. You are looking for a more experienced teacher who has experience in the grades or subjects that you will be teaching. This will be the person that you go to when you are dealing with a difficult student or trying to unravel a complex concept for your class. He or she will hopefully be able to give you tried and true tips, share resources, and generally serve as a sounding board and source of good advice. Finding an experienced teacher to mentor you is probably one of the most important things that you can do as a first year teacher to make sure that you and your students are successful.
In addition to finding a mentor teacher, you need to be organized. Depending on which grade you teach you will be dealing with anywhere from 20 to 100 students. This means you have that many names to remember, that many sets of records to keep, and that many papers to grade every time you give an assignment. The only way to be able to teach effectively with those kinds of numbers is to be organized.
You will need to come up with a system, or more likely several of them. You will want a system for communicating with parents, for collecting and grading papers, for tracking grades, for starting new students midway through the year, and for tracking which students need additional help and which need more challenges. Your mentor teacher should be able to give you some ideas that will help you to be as … Read the rest