Tips for Nervous New Teacher
From the Teacher Chatboard
Plea, posted by
"Nervous New Teacher" Marie:
I'll be teaching second grade in the Fall and I'm very nervous. I know a little about the school district but not that much. It's not the district where I did my student teaching or subbing, but its a quality district nonetheless. I just don't know what to expect. I don't know how to Prepare, and that makes me nervous. I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to start off doing things at the last minute, and it seems that's the way things work in education. I want to know what I should start teaching, how I can prepare, what I should buy, what I shouldn't buy. Heck, someone just tell me what I should be doing! I want to strike while the irons are hot. In the month of July I will be vacationing so I know my time is limited. Why can't teaching be like every other new job...you sign a contract and they give you a handbook, job description, expectations so on? I feel like I'm just dangling; and I'm afraid I'll fall real soon.
Posted by TLC:
Look for the positive and when you have a problem, always back it up with a solution.
Posted by banjophil:
Here a few things off the top of my head...
- Make friends with the custodians before school starts.
- Home visits are a good idea if you are the kind of person that can do them. If you do home visits, take something with you to give your new student, such as a letter of welcome or a pencil with "Mrs. Smith's Class" engraved on it. Don't stay very long.
- Plan for a lot more than you think you will ever need.
- Take the students on a tour of the school the very first day.
- Decide what student behaviors are important to you, and practice, practice, practice.
- Practice your attention getting signal.
- The first day will be hectic, not because of the students, but because of all the paperwork and interruptions. Expect it, plan on it, and don't get flustered because of it.
- Learn all the names of your homeroom students before the first recess.
- Plan a get-to-know-you activity, but leave lots of time for regular school stuff. Don't give homework, but do require some school work. Math problems, oral reading, journal entry, handwriting lesson, etc.
- Plan on going out to eat after school. You will be tired.
It will be a "good" tired, but you won't want to cook.
Posted by bev:
Marie, Marie, Marie,
I was in your shoes two years ago. First of all ask (demand) a mentor to help you get through the first year. Even if you don't agree or like each other you need someone to ask advice and lean on. I suggest you ask for someone outside of your grade level.
The next thing is that what they teach you in school is valuable but not the real world. Somehow I was left with the impression that what they were doing in schools today was wrong and teachers of tomorrow would have to do things differently. I actually did not use the text book lesson plans and would try to create my own for every subject, every day.
Take as much POSITIVE advice as you can find. There are so many negative ninnies out there that you just have to make your own way. The best thing I can tell you is not to be afraid to try something new. (Ex. I used the one computer in my class to do a slide show project with my kids. It took 3 months (yes 3) and it turned out OK. However I learned much, the kids loved it and thought they created the next Oscar winner for documentaries on imaginary animals. I started thinking, how I can do it better? That is teaching)
The first year is hard and the second year is better I am looking forward to the third. I hope this helps!
Posted by Rose:
Get "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong. There is so much more in there than we will all be able to remember to tell you. I bought the book after teaching ten years and I still love it now. I have changed some of the ways I had been doing things in the past, with more success I might add.
Posted by Sue Gruber:
Hi! First of all, congratulations on your new job! Relax as much as you can and enjoy your summer! Here's what I'd focus on:
- Get a hold of the grade level standards for your school/state. Don't get caught up in the tiny details...just familiarize yourself with the big picture of where you need to be by the end of the year. I keep a photocopied set of the standards inside my plan book. As I cover each of the standards, I highlight it. This helps me figure out what I've covered and what I still need to teach.
- Meet the other second grade teacher(s) at school one day soon. Offer to bring lunch. Ask him or her to tell you about the school's culture--about the kids, teachers, parents, expectations, unwritten rules, etc. See if that teacher is willing to collaborate and do some planning together for the first week or two of school. Finding another teacher to plan with really saves time! It's much more fun to plan with someone else too!
- If you plan to use journals or certain kinds of folders with your class, start making them now. Don't write kids names on anything yet. Your class list will probably change a bit and some kids don't go by their first names.
- Decide now on the routines and procedures you want to teach your kids. Beginning on the first day show them how you want them to enter and leave the room each day. Teach them the procedures for getting drinks of water, bathroom, sharpening pencils, getting materials, asking for help, lining up, etc. It's so much easier to begin the year with set procedures rather than constantly changing how things are done. Most kids respond well to routines--they like to know what to expect.
There's nothing quite like your first year of teaching! Enjoy every minute! I hope this helps.
Posted by Lily:
Hit the yard sales and buy books. You need a great classroom library with books above level and below. I think you are teaching second?? Then look for the following books:
Magic Tree House
Babysitters Club (for higher reading girls)
Magic School Bus
Box Car Children
Look for picture books, too.
Remember not to kill yourself making every lesson a total hands-on, multiple intelligence, masterpiece. Just make one lesson a day like that. Use the manuals, don't reinvent the wheel.
Invest your time in a weekly newsletter and written note to each parent. Parents want to know what is going on, and they will say you are a good teacher if they know what you are doing for their child.
Posted by Soli:
This may sound funny, but it concerns something that will make a difference in how much you enjoy your first day. My niece laughed at what she called my "old lady shoes," but she called me crying after her first day last Fall. Her feet and legs were KILLING her!! Invest in some extremely supportive and comfortable shoes--even if they are "old lady shoes"! BTW, not all comfortable shoes are ugly these days.
In addition to good shoes, invest in a tall chair or stool to use when you need to rest a bit while in front of your class. You will be surprised at how much standing and walking you do during the course of the day. Having that stool to lean on or sit on when you are reading to your kids, having a class discussion, etc., will really help those first few weeks, until you are used to so much standing.
Congratulations and the very best wishes to you!
Posted by Mary:
My best advice is to be very, very prepared for the first day down to the tiniest detail! I'll never forget my first day 4 years ago when I never gave thought to the idea that the students would be arriving with large bags filled with the supplies from the supply list that went home at the end of the previous year. The first thing they did when they walked into the room was dump them all over their desks and start showing their new stuff to their friends! What a disaster!! I now tell my students on the first day what they need to do when they enter classroom BEFORE we actually enter the classroom. :)
Plan some activities that will help you get to know your students and let them get to know each other. You'll need to go over expectations, rules, curriculum, etc., but only do it in 15 minutes intervals then switch to something cooperative. I always read a few picture books to them - "Teacher from the Black Lagoon" is a nice lead-in to talking about rules and expectations, and "A Fine, Fine School" is a good example that learning doesn't take place only in the classroom.
Make sure you have them practice entering the classroom/building for recess, lunch, assemblies, etc. And finally, know in advance what you want them to do with all those supplies they will bring with them!! LOL
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