Monday, August 24, 2015

Dear First Year Teacher

This year, my teacher bestie moved to another district and we just hired a new teacher. The girl that we hired is fabulous and I'm sure we're going to have an awesome year. She's just out of college (we graduated from the same university!) and is excited and nervous to have a classroom of her own. Talking with my new teammate gave me an opportunity to reflect on all that I've learned the past two years as a new teacher...

Dear first year teacher,

You're excited and scared. You have more ideas than you know what to do with. You're new. You could probably use some advice. I'm no expert, but I've certainly learned a few things in my first few years that might be helpful...

make friends with the staff

The secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, lunchroom staff, special ed. resource teachers, school social workers, school psychologists, and nurse are all crucial in making your first year a success. It truly takes a village and these people are your village. Teamwork among colleagues communicates to students that they are part of a cohesive community that cares about them.

plan ahead

Of course teachers are natural planners. We love to color code our Erin Condren teacher planners. We stay late & go in early. But I'm talking about the things you might not anticipate. Going to a parent meeting? Bring some notes on their child and a couple samples of their work. Need copies for Monday morning? Suck it up and make them on Friday. Anything you can do to make your life easier, do it!

keep your space organized

Your sweet babes are going to be a hot mess. Missing glue stick caps and broken pencils come with the territory of being a kid. Do what you can to keep them organized, and definitely keep your own space clean & functional. Set 5 minutes aside at the end of each day to tidy up and file any paperwork that needs to be tucked away. It's a pain in the moment but will save your sanity in the long run.

be flexible

Things change at the drop of a hat (or a pencil sharpener... If a child has not dropped a pencil sharpener and unleashed an explosion of crumbly pencil shavings all over the floor in the middle of a lesson that your principal is observing, count yourself very lucky). It's okay. It's going to be okay. Laugh it off and push the lesson back by ten minutes.

take time for you

Some days, this job will push you to your limits. Do what you need to do to nurture yourself. You can't pour yourself for others until you fill yourself up. Go out and get some fresh air on your lunch break. Take a quiet bubble bath at night. Try a new recipe for dinner. Make sure your don't lose yourself in helping others.

be easy on yourself

You're doing the best you can. You're doing a good job. You won't know it all and nobody expects you to. Ask for help when you need it and continue to learn for next time. That's what we tell our students when they make a mistake, right? :)

XO Emily


  1. This is really sweet. I like how you have this set up :) Any new teacher needs to read this!!

    1. Thanks! I've definitely learned all of these lessons the hard way, so why not pass on that wisdom?! :)

  2. Not that I'm a teacher...but that's so sweet and such good advice!

  3. this is awesome advice, I can only imagine how nervous first time teachers are!!


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