Rock Your First Year of Teaching!


Are you new teaching? I remember my first year, I was in my classroom as soon as I could to start setting up. I know if I could do the decorations and room arrangement before PD started, I might actually have time to do all of things I didn't know I wouldn't know to do. (Does that make sense?) There is JUST. SO. MUCH. at the beginning of the year. But you can do it. We've got your back.

There is a whole community out here to help you get started and we've teamed up with tips for you to ROCK your first year of teaching. I'm linking up with Teaching with Crayons and Curls to bring you a few pieces of advice.

Over Plan Everything: I mean everything. If you have downtime, things get chaotic. That being said, if you do suddenly have downtime the first week or so of school, practice procedures, read aloud a favorite book, or review material. Plan on doing things like practicing how to get out and use markers, how to line up, how to hold scissors. Assume they know nothing (especially in primary) and plan to practice everything. 

Make sure you have a plan for what to do if lessons finish faster than you anticipate. It takes time to learn how long a lesson or activity will take. The longer you teach, the easier this will be. Early finisher tubs are great ways to keep the ones who ALWAYS finish early occupied and learning. They can also read (or look at a book for younger kiddos) independently or write/draw quietly. I have an arsenal in my classroom of "extras" just in case. 

Be Flexible: There will be surprises, teachable moments, an assembly you didn't know or forgot about, or you may have to call a class meeting. Always be flexible. Sometimes you may have to stop a lesson, go back, and start over. Sometimes you may have to address something important with you class. Sometimes someone throws up on the rug and the cleaning machine the janitor uses is so loud and distracting you can't carry on with the lesson. Be flexible. 

(If the throw up things happens, and it's bound to happen sooner or later, I've done several things. If it's close enough to recess, we may go out a little early. We may take a restroom break or color/read quietly at the tables. Have a plan. You just never know. Can you tell I've had this happen a time or two?) 

Listen to More Experienced Teachers: Usually, other teachers want to help you succeed. They may do things differently than you do and that's okay. But their experience has driven them to do things a certain way. Listen to and learn from them. They do things for a reason. 

Ignore Advice: Other teachers genuinely want to help you. You don't have to do everything everyone tells you to, but don't ignore it either. It may or may not be your style, but people give advice for a reason. Think about it. tweak it if you need to, but don't ignore it. 

Try To Do It All Your First Year: Teaching is like juggling 30 balls at once. I'm not trying to scare you—you've got this—but I want you to be prepared. Don't try to do it all your first year. Focus on engaging lesson plans, forming relationships with your students, data collection, documentation, and meeting your deadlines. Some schools require teachers to serve on committees their first year, some don't. Please don't sign up for every committee or event your first year. Focus on getting the hang of teaching while maintaining your sanity, then add in extra duties. 

Trust Your Gut: You will get advice from everyone—even non-teachers. You are a smart, educated teacher. There is a reason the state granted your certification. Trust yourself and your gut instincts. Do what you feel is right for your students. Not every new idea, strategy, or technique will work for you and your students. You know your kids better than anyone else in the school. Do what is best for them. 

My first year of teaching, I got advice from everyone and their mother. And none of it was the same from person to person. One person would say, "do this", another would say, "oh never do that!" That's the fasted way to confuse and frustrate someone right there. When I threw out all their well meaning advice and did things the way I knew my students needed it to be done, we started having a blast. I was more relaxed and less stressed, which meant the whole class was happier. I was focusing on what worked best for them and me and we were ALL so much happier. And guess what? They were still learning! 

Trust me, you've got this. You have people out here more than happy to help you out. We ALL want to see you succeed. If you ever need a pep talk, just let me know. ;) Plan, be flexible, listen, and trust yourself. 

Now stop by Teaching with Crayons and Curls to see what other wonderful teachers have to say about rocking your first year. 


  1. I love it- trust your gut! So very true! Sometimes we are our own worst critics and second guess and doubt ourselves too much. You are right on!

    Have a great day!

  2. Over planning is a must!! Great advice! I also love trust your gut! We are the ones who are with these kiddos all day long we know more about them then anyone else:) Always go with your instincts! Thank you for sharing.

  3. I want to teach with all of you teachers!

    Being flexible is so important! Sometimes the plan changes.

    Made with Love

  4. What great advice! I love your overplanning advice, that can help out so much! Great idea to not ignore advice either! I love your trust your gut advice, that is so right on point!
    Thanks so much for sharing such great advice! Even for seasoned teachers, it's great to read tips and tricks from other teachers!

    Warmest Wishes,
    Kindergarten Dragons

  5. Great advice!! I think that I have tried to do too much because I wanted to look impressive and it didn't end with successful lessons! Once I took a step back and realized that it was okay to move at my own pace everything worked out :)

  6. Rachael,
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your advice! It's so true that you need to overplan! At the beginning of my career I had a really hard time estimating how much time lessons would take! I wish I would've known to OVER plan for that first week!
    Thank you so much for linking up!
    Chandra @ Teaching with Crayons and Curls


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