We asked teachers from all over the world one question: if they could offer advice to first time teachers, what would it be? From Albania to Alabama, we’ve collected the best words of wisdom from veteran teachers. Share and send to all of the hard working educators in your life, and add your own in the comments below:
1. Amanda Poland: Be open to learning, talking and asking for help. It’s not an easy field, and it’s hard to keep it together. Finding a “happy place” when things get hectic is crucial, I think! Staying calm is important because kids can feel all of those emotions. And to remember that we are all in this TOGETHER! Parents and teachers should work together, as well as teachers helping other teachers. We all have difficult kids too, but that doesn’t mean we should get frustrated with them. Those kids need the most love and patience!
2. Jane Anderson Bush: What you do is what gets done. Don’t beat yourself up over not getting something done. Kids don’t know what didn’t get done, and don’t care. They are happy with YOU!
3. Aristia Hummel: Get training in dealing with kids that have emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression, etc. These kids need an education too, and tend to act out if they aren’t dealt with in understanding way.
4. Katie Holmes: Take care of yourself! Be kind, be loving, and be open to any experience. Administrative Manager, Northern MT Child Development Center, Montana
5. Jennifer Leonard Cain: First year is the year of grand ideas, second year is the year of reigning it in, third year is the year of hitting your groove. Hang in there! It gets better! Former Preschool Teacher, Tucson AZ.
6. Jordana Moscovitch: Be loving caring, but stern at the same time. (Depending on age group).
7. Victoria Samantha: Remembering kids do well if they can, many children may have a lot going on in their life. Try to understand the family background, and build a relationship with the family and child to best support them. Also, figuring out each child’s needs and building on their skills. We sometimes forget that children are little, and we need to teach them how to follow the rules and, when they can’t we get frustrated, BUT it’s important to remember they may have never been shown how to do that task before.
8. Adriana Fiesco: Parent/teacher communication!
9. Shorouq Abu-Joudeh: Observe experienced teachers!! 😃
10. Irene Braak El Mohabesh Breathe, don’t answer parent/staff emails when you’re angry. Ask for help, anytime. No one can do this job alone. No, your class doesn’t have to look like Pinterest, and no, you don’t need to spend your entire salary on resources. Love the children, understand they’re only little, and be the one they can trust at all times.
11. Gwen Quig: Love what you’re doing! Kids will know it if you don’t!
12. Kari Nagus: Procedure procedure procedure! Establish a routine and stick to it. Kids work best when they know what is expected.
13. Barbara Meinel: I’m a retired Head Teacher of Preschool at an international school in Albania and I hope first-time teachers enjoy their little students! “Patience and love go a long way”.
14. Laci Lee: Listen to what the children in your care say, I mean really listen! You might be the only one that does!!
15. Maimoona Tehreem: Be patient and try to achieve learners interest on you.
16. Kimberly Stone Staple: Don’t compare yourself to other teachers. Be the best teacher YOU can be. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
17. Kathy Hummel Hinton Formative assessment with follow-up for those who didn’t get the lessons, hands-on that provides meaning and not just fun, stay focused on the standards, enjoy the best job in the world! Retired Elementary Science Teacher, Groveport, Ohio.
18. Robin Howard: Kids will learn when you make learning fun.
19. Sheri Harris: Hang in there!
20. Lyndsay Collins Bowens: I always tell teachers what my teacher friend told me my first year: “Take it one day at a time.” Get through one day and then get through the next. The first year is hard, it just is. Keep going. Year 5 for me! Prek Teacher, Public School, Texas. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
21. Treeza Rodrigues: Be a lifelong learner.
22. Marlene Berger: PATIENCE!
23. Edith Kolly: For a first time teacher, all you need to get along with the pupils is patience in all of their doings. Seek for their attention and make them your friends. Work with them together with your co teachers, and you will enjoy teaching.
24. Lorraine Kix Houlihan Routine: Confidence!
25. Melissa Aber Davis: Be patient, enjoy the children you are with. Communication is key with parents, co-teachers and the children. Keep the class schedule and provide a lot of structure to keep them busy. Reach out to co-teachers or management if you need assistance. Ask a lot of questions, seasoned teachers are a great resource. Good luck!
26. Shannon Mullis: Your number one concern should be the kids – NOT staying on pace, or the test.
27. Carla Sabrina Reis: Understand that your career will pass through a lot of moments. Remember all the good moments, and skills you’ve passed by, and start to love your job everyday! It’s show time ❤️
28. Lori Phillips: Eat in the lounge with other teachers. You will learn about students, the school, the community, and most importantly find support. K-5 Science Teacher, Arizona
29. Shannon Kelly: Breathe. The struggles of today will benefit you tomorrow.
30. Jehosheba Magala: Be real, and try to understand your children’s needs before teaching.
31. Kate Papsun: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, bond with your coworkers and surround yourself with positive people in your building. Also, keep candy in your desk 😉 you’ll need it. Second grade teacher, Manchester Connecticut.
32. Chelsey Lawrence Former: Take an Airborne or EmergenC everyday. Paraeducator, Washington State.
33. Elizabeth Ishee: Accept your failures and reflect. Rejoice in your successes and give yourself a break. We all need to be tested to start the new day. Seek out helpful, experienced dinosaurs, and organize your desk before leaving.
34. Melissa Freeman Marbery: Stick to what you say. A lot of times teachers and parents say: “if you do that again, then ….” or “if you do that one more, time, then….” and then they won’t follow through. Kids learn really quickly if a teacher is going to do what they say or not.
35. Barbora Sekova: Do your job first i.e. teach them, show them ways to learn, never give up on anyone, encourage them when they need it, but moreover, see humans in all of them. Behave towards them as you would want to be treated and remembered. Books, techniques, teaching methods will be forgotten, but the relationship you build with your students will determine whether they like the subject or not. We all live and learn, it is not about getting A’s or scoring in tests. We need to show the children how to learn, help them when they cannot keep up, and make them understand that they are, and that they can be good people. If your priority is to teach, you will find ways to do it right, and you will do a great job. Just believe in yourself!
36. Athena Thomas: Don’t be afraid to cry. But also don’t be afraid to be silly! It shows the kids that you are human too. Preschool Teacher, Year 2
37. JoAnna Brown: Seating charts save lives 😅
38. Lawrence Marzec-Gerrior: Listen with your heart , speak only what they need to know. Retired HS Science Teacher, Vermont
39. Lois Wickstrom: Classroom discipline is your first job. Everything follows from there.
40. Andy Yung: It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. At the end of the day, you’ll reflect on what you need to fix and you’ll get better and better every day
41. Aelex Shea: Build relationships with parents/guardians and open lines of communication early to build trust (so important). Also, determine what’s best for the children. Write down observations for children before you forget them, and use that to guide your programming. Be flexible in your programming because every group of kids each year is different, and even the same group will be different from the beginning of the year to the end, and your classroom and program need to change as the children change.
42. Shylee Crutchfield Bentley: Start stricter than you’d like, so you can go easier as you move through the year. Otherwise you may end up having to get stricter as you move along and that doesn’t work well.
43. Melanie Ditchfield Hensel: Foster a love of nature with the kids. Too many kids don’t like science because the vocabulary is cumbersome. Use hands-on labs to overcome vocabulary.
44. Rob Petro: Show your passion for your subject, and always look at a lesson through the eyes of your students. Plan for more than you think you have time for. Show students you care about them more than the subject you teach. Science Teacher (Chem), University Scholars, Pennsylvania
45. Lori O’Connor Carlson: Label everything in table groups because that silly table number keeps it from being stolen and kids will actually put it back. But without it for whatever reason it wont. Don’t have kids with back to you and absolutely walk around the room getting your steps in at the same time it is a behavior and motivation tool that can’t be duplicated.
46. Debra Hackett Madden: Make time for yourself! You can’t eat, sleep, dream about school. It’s exhausting! Have friends that don’t have school talk so you can unwind. I love to be in nature after school. I’m a 33 year teacher here, and I still get tired.
47. Sarah Anne: You will go through emotional highs and lows. Find your rock that will give you perspective and allow you to stand on your own two feet. Might be a mentor teacher in your same content or in another. Someone who doesn’t lecture at you but listens.
48. Maryanne Dove: Forget what you think it will be like or what they told you it was like in your ECE classes – that’s fairy tales and rainbows. The actual job is much different.
49. Kathy Campbell Harris: We asked the children this and they had the BEST answers! “Be brave” “Remember that we love you” “Don’t wear tight shoes” 😂
50. Kepner: Be flexible, be compassionate, and be ready!
51. Belinda Valkenburg: Don’t be lazy, teaching is hard work, you’re not just minding children, make a difference in their lives! TEACH AND NEVER STOP LEARNING OR LAUGHING! IT’S SUCH A GREAT PROFESSION. 5-6 year old class, South Africa.
52. Erin Helmer Tarver: Make you classroom a safe space for your students AND yourself. Be open to learning from mentors and always remember to play! Executive Director and owner of a center in Springdale, Arkansas.
53. Teri Easley-Brown: Put your best foot forward, build trusting relationships with the kids and parents, ask tons of questions, follow all the rules/regulations and don’t allow others run/scare you off.
We hope this advice helps you have your best year yet! Making teacher’s lives easer is what we’re all about!