I still fondly remember the excitement and uncertainty I felt as a new teacher. I started teaching mid-year in a classroom with a co-teacher and 36 students. It was such a blessing, almost like a second internship where I had time to learn the school and curriculum with the support of a veteran teacher. The following year I moved to my own classroom and taught all subjects. Imposter syndrome led to me thinking, talking, and working on school “stuff” nonstop. My relationships, budget and health suffered. If you are a new teacher or find yourself in this teacher trap, then check out my 3 tips below.
Be intentional with this. I remember the days before I had kids staying until 6pm regularly and STILL feeling like I had things left on my to do list.
Start the year with clear boundaries. Here are a few examples of the ones I set below.
- Leave school by 4 everyday
- Only plan for 45 minutes with your team one day after school or during one planning period.
- Set a budget and log money spent in your classroom.
- Have office hours where parents know they can hear from you quickly but aren’t expecting you to message back on a Saturday or 9pm.
- Grade papers while students are working or turning in their assessments. This is a huge time saver and helps you catch the frustrating no names and missed questions.
Instagram, Tik Tok and Pinterest make this harder than it used to be. You don’t need color ink or fancy paper for everything. Pick one or two areas that bring you joy and go all out there.
When you struggle with thoughts of feeling inadequate keep a list near your desk of your successes or things you LOVE about your students and classroom.
You were placed in your classroom and with your students for a reason. You are the BEST teacher for them!
Students learning and growing matter far more than the bright birthday treats your teammate sends home. We all have limited time and energy. Focus on being your best and don’t waste your precious energy on thinking someone else’s grass is greener.
Over communicate to everyone. Your mom. Husband. Boyfriend. Students. Families. Tell them what you need. I remember as a new teacher being afraid to ask for help because I thought it showed weakness. No! It shows humility. Asking parents and guardians to volunteer in your classroom is a blessing to you and THEM. One year I had a class with no parental involvement. My husband and mother in law came to help me during our holiday party because I mentioned my dilemma to them. It’s such a special memory for all of us now.
I’ve had room moms pull groups, read to the class, and help with classroom incentives but I had to ASK! They can’t read your mind. Put the need out there and I’m sure someone will be happy to help. View them as a teammate not a scary boss that is judging you.
Hope these three tips help you as a new teacher not make the same mistakes I did!
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As a new teacher, teaching students to critically think about word problems was HARD! Check out this blog post about the 3 Reads method to learn more about my favorite strategy.