My advice to new teachers


I have just read a lovely comment from a student teacher who was in my classroom last year. So this post is for you Catherine and all those like you who are this week starting on their journeys as fully fledged teachers. I really hope things have changed since I first trained as a teacher. As I cannot remember really learning much at university that  really prepared me for life in the classroom. It may not be the fault of the universities though, as I think that nothing can really prepare you for your first year as a full time primary school teacher.
Parents may think that a school day is too short, I well remember wondering if my early days would ever end!

So this is my advice for you.

  • Keep smiling, it does get better.
  • If you cannot cope or you need help – admit it – older staff will not bite. We do want to help. We may not always appear helpful but that is because we are often so busy and tied up in the day to day running of our classes too.
  • Plan, plan and plan again. Picture lessons in your mind, picture the pitfalls and the problems and slowly and surely you will find your confidence growing and your ability to adjust your lessons to fit the time will grow.
  • Admit you are still a learner. Admit it to your pupils, admit it to yourself and admit it to the other staff at your school.
  • Having admitted it then you will need to network and seek help and advice. Use twitter or edmodo communities or facebook teacher groups. Use anything and anyone you can to ask questions of and ask advice from.
  • Read other teacher’s blogs, get other teacher’s ideas. You are not expected to know everything yet. Remember you are still a learner.
  • Start writing your own blog, you may not have many readers but it is a great tool for reflection. It also will provide a record of your successes and ideas for your future.
  • Discover and use websites such as Adrian Bruces, or 2sparkley
  • Bring laughter into your classroom, let the students laugh with you and at you.
  • If it all gets a bit much, look out the window, remember to breath, wiggle your shoulders and try to relax.
  • Oh and did I say keep smiling!

Above all, remember why you became a teacher. Here I am assuming it was because of the students. It was because you love kids. You cannot save them all, you will not create miracles for them all. You will not be able to connect and reach and solve all their problems but you will for some and that is why it is worth it. That is why teaching is the best job in the world. Why, even though we may grumble and groan and complain about how exhausted we are and how much work teaching is. It is why we love it and come back each year for more.

When you reach the end of this year. I really hope that you will have had a great year and that you too will know and understand why it was you became a teacher.

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  2. teachie

    Great advice!! And don’t forget all of us ‘older more experienced’ teachers can learn as easily from you as you can from us. Teaching is all about sharing and growing together.

  3. Sam

    I just survived my first year of teaching, the highlight being getting to meet Henrietta in NZ 😉

    Mind you, I have gone from Year 7 and a 1:1 program, all the way to Preps. I feel like I am starting ALL over again!

  4. wow what a change! Thank you for your lovely comment. Enjoy your preps they are special people and should be savoured every minute of every day.

  5. Thank you, Henrietta! It’s a great reminder to know that every one of us has been here at some point. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes, ears and mind open throughout my career, particularly in the next few months. As daunting as it all seems, I can’t wait to get going!

  6. Wonderful advice I wish I had had when I was starting out! Thank you for the reminder for us “vetran” teachers that we need to be cognizant of the struggles of new teachers and work to include and support them where we can.

  7. Da, Liu

    It’s great advice!!!
    We do need smiling to sweep away disappointment.
    Talk to peer group n experienced teachers could really
    find helpful and practical ideas!!
    I survived my first practicum as a language teacher. Really stressful and demanding, but somehow found it precious and brilliant in the end. And gonna have my 2nd prac in August, i’m keeping good faith and hope it would be better than my first one.

  8. YANLI

    Very valuable advice. I believe it is very important to keep smiling at all time even though it wouldn’t be very easy.

    I would love to learn from different people.