Advice to a First Year Teacher

Last week we got started off on a positive note, diving into professional learning and preparing for the upcoming school year with our teams and colleagues.  When we came together (at a safe distance) to start off our time together as a building team, I asked you to think about your first year as a teacher.  For many of us that was some time ago, for others it is this year!  I wanted you to draw back to that feeling of being a first year teacher and remember all that came with it.  I also wanted you to see how far you’ve come and take a minute to think about, not only the reason you became an educator in the first place but, why you have remained in education through all the ups and downs.  

I shared Taylor Mali performing one of his poems, What Teachers Make, as it is one of the memories I have from my first year as a teacher.  That message helped remind me, throughout my early years as an educator, about why I became a teacher.  It was my coaching background that led me to a career as an educator but it was the impact I was able to make on kids’ lives that kept me going each and every day, no matter who the kids were or where I worked.

In many ways this year, the 2020-2021 school year, is going to feel like the first year teaching for most, if not all, of us.  What we are about to attempt has never been attempted on such a wide scale before.  Yet, despite the challenges that we’ve already experienced and those still to come, everyone brought a positive attitude and approach to the beginning of the year.  I asked you to think about the advice you would give yourself as a first year teacher because I wanted you to remember that advice and keep it fresh in your mind as we start this school year.  Below, I’ve documented all of the wisdom shared by our staff from last week, please have a look and be inspired.  There is A LOT of great advice here…

You won’t do this alone, use your team and help your team!

One day at a time.

Never give up being the teacher who makes a difference in the life of a child.  Be the inspiration for them to become the best people they can be.  Always remember to be kind – especially to yourself!

Never give up and do your best at everything you do.They’re just as nervous on the first day as you.  

Don’t be afraid to have fun!

Continue to apply all you know and continue to help others.  Your teammates become more than teammates, they become your friends, your family at school.

Take it day by day.  Don’t stress if your plans don’t get done.

Every day is a new day…heck, every lesson is a new day!

It’s okay not to know.

Be patient, slow down.  Show the kids you can laugh at yourself.

Above anything else, connect with kids…all the rest will come.

Build relationships, do crazy stuff, the more hands on the better.  Take it one day at a time.  You got this!

Self care helps to balance out the work life.

Learn how to be flexible and as long as you’re doing this for the kids everything will work itself out.

Become besties with the secretaries, engineers, and food service.

You can do great things with literally nothing.  Your creative self will thrive and you will make a difference.

It starts out tough and there are times you will cry.  You will learn and students will know you made a difference for them.  They will even request to have you for their children.

Remain calm, everything happens for a reason and things always work out for the best (even if it seems like it’s the end of the world).

You don’t have all the answers and that’s okay, you’ll figure it out anyway!

You will make it happen.  Don’t stress too much about the details.

Your hardest days will be some of your best days for your students!  Never give up on them, they see you and appreciate you no matter how they treat you.

Never give up!

Be flexible, lean on those around you, be proud for making it.  Never forget why you wanted to teach!

Plan more than you think you will need.

It will be hard and you may cry tears of frustration but more happy tears, hang in there.

It’s overwhelming, but you can do it.  Take little steps at a time.

Never, ever, give up and push through those hard times.  Also, always make sure your colleagues are okay, because they need you as much as you need them!

Be patient and build relationships.

Help your students become independent learners, they won’t always have you to motivate them and support them.

Relax! Making connections is the most important thing, everything else will eventually fall into place!

Ask questions.  You won’t be successful unless you do.

I am better at teaching than I think I am and I really am making a difference, even though I might not seem that way at the time.  Relax, breathe, trust, and keep going.

Be kinder to yourself.

Ask questions, work with your team, and do your best – it’s good enough.

Wear comfortable shoes.  The weirder, the better.

Don’t take on too much right away.  Get comfortable with the school and the kids first.

It is okay for things not to look the way you think they should look.  Build a community with your teaching peers.

Take one day at a time!  Sometimes you will feel that you aren’t getting through, but you are!

Your students appreciate you even when they don’t show it.

Close your door and do what’s best for your kids, only listen to the positive people.

Don’t sweat the small things, be consistent, and find enjoyment in what you do every single day.

It’s okay to not get through all the lessons, it’s not about how many lessons you taught, it’s about how the kids feel when in your class.

The excitement and the no-boundaries attitude will ebb and flow.  Embrace the suck at each phase and continue to work to grow the voices of your students.

For every hard moment, there will be a hundred great ones.  The students that are the most challenging are the ones that need you the most.  Above all else, trust in yourself to do what is right by your kids.

Join a math education organization…the people there will help soooooo much.

You were right.  Being a teacher is what you are and always will be.  You will help children belong and feel loved.

YOU can DO this!!  It’s O.K.!! Keep going!  And…donuts help the cause!

Stay positive and keep looking forward!  You are making a difference!

You got this!  Remember they are just as nervous as you!  Be silly and fun because that’s what they will remember.

Try new things!

Have fun with it…don’t try to be perfect…relax…give kids time to speak each day about what they did or what’s new in their lives!

When you get overwhelmed remember you don’t have to do everything all at one time.  Focus on one or two things at a time. Stay positive!

Breathe.  Build strong relationships with family and you will see greater success than you could ever imagine.

Don’t be so hard on yourself! Breathe! Everything will be okay.  You are not a bad teacher!

It will get better, each year will be different, and it will have ups and downs just like life.

Take a deep breath.  Fake it til you make it.


Be patient.

Find your Marigold.

You will care more and love more than you thought you would or could but that’s okay…you have to.  They are worth it!

You are going to learn a LOT!

Be real. Honor your mistakes and grow from them. Don’t be afraid to lean on those around you.

Education will take a while to return to “normal” but be patient and understand that all good things take time.

Hang in there, ask for help, it gets better!

Don’t be shy about seeking help!

Reach out to parents to support right away.

Trust yourself, ask for help, and know the kids appreciate you, even when they don’t show it.

You can do this! I know it will be tough but at the end of the day it will so be worth it!

Don’t give up; even on the most difficult days.  Always ask for help.

Tomorrow is a fresh day and the kids do not know if your lesson failed.

Breathe. Ask for help. Do the work in the beginning and it will pay off later on.  Be patient.  It will get tough at times.  Never give up!!  You are making a difference.

Hang in there, things will be rough but know you are tough and will get through it.

Remain calm, build relationships first, don’t ever give up on ‘that’ student.

It won’t always be that hard.

It’ll all work out.

You will get better at this.

Be patient with yourself and with the children. We all have different home lives and learn differently.  Embrace those differences and make the best of every day.

Focus on the needs of your students and families first.  When they see you are here to support them, they will in turn support you and your job will be that much easier.

Don’t ever give up.  The kids that are the hardest on you, need the most love.

Take time to stop and enjoy the moments that matter.  Allow yourself to take praise and acknowledge that you work hard and you do your best!

Stay calm and focus on making relationships with the students.

2 thoughts on “Advice to a First Year Teacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s