advicenewteachers

I originally wrote these recommendations for new teachers as a response to a reader who’s daughter was about to start her first teaching job five years ago. They were only posted in the commenting section on the “About” section of my blog but I think they are worthy of their own post. Please feel free to add your own advice for new teachers in the commenting section below.

Here our some suggestions for your daughter if she wishes to stay in the teaching profession for a long time and likes her school:
1. Don’t start writing a blog.
2. Don’t ever say anything at a faculty meeting. Bring a stack of papers to grade so you can use the time productively.
3. Make yourself invisible. Go to the main office to sign in, smile, and then go to your classroom and don’t come out again until 3 pm.
4. Get to know the teachers next door to you. They will be the only adult contact you have during the day. If you have a disruptive student, send them to the class next door rather than the office.
5. Do not write any referrals. Administrators will assume you have no classroom management skills. Try to make contact with parents instead. It will help if you are fluent in Spanish, Creole and Portuguese.
6. Document everything! Save those emails, print them out.
7. Have good relationships with parents. Join the PTA. My $5 PTA membership is more valuable to me than an $800 union membership.
8. Use your teacher webpage.
9. Try to not fall behind on grading or you may never get out under that stack of papers.
10. Pretend you love data and find it fascinating.
11. Overplan your lessons. You don’t want a lesson to run short. “Free time” is your worst enemy.
12. Don’t show many movies. You will get a reputation as that teacher who is always showing movies. Most kids don’t have the attention span to sit through a full length educational film. Show short clips instead.
13. Don’t go out of your way to brown nose an administrator. Most principals last about 3-4 years. I have seen the principal’s pet teachers leave a school after the principal leaves because they have lost “most favored teacher status.” Be friendly, play by their rules but there is no need to grovel.
14. Enjoy the students. They are the best part of the job. If you find yourself having more negative interactions with the kids than positive, it’s time to find a new profession.

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