That back to school feeling!
During this incredibly exciting time of school year a lot of emotions grow and become part of our daily life. Very special feelings, expectations and uncertainties fill up our minds and hearts. And so it begins. Maybe you have another subject to teach or a different textbook edition, a bigger classroom, a new supervisor, new colleagues, new and different kids, maybe you even switched to a new school and only brought with you your previous experience to rely on. Just knowing that you have an opportunity of starting all over again, from the beginning, without any record from your kids’ previous behavior or relationship with their teachers or classmates, is empowering. The fact that you have the chance to change their future and become a life-long influence for them should make you feel alive; at least it keeps me going.
New into teaching?
But what if not only your kids or books are different? What if you’re totally new into this crazy teaching world? Well, there are probably more than five hundred different pieces of advice that every teacher can give you. Sometimes receiving so many different tips is just confusing, worrying, stressful and overwhelming. People telling you about how to write notes to parents when you don’t even know when, where or why you should write a note to them. Suddenly a teacher rushes by and tells you you’re late to your recess guard duty and you didn’t even know it was recess time, that you had a duty or what it implies. A kid asks you if you’re going to give grades tomorrow after their test and you don’t even have the exams ready because you didn’t know the dates to apply them or what their format should be like. If you are new into teaching just take a breath, it will be OK. You will understand everything step by step. Just give it some time, it’s OK to trip every now and then.
Focus on the important stuff.
Talking about advice, you should know that some small things trend to keep our minds busy but we should never lose focus on the important stuff. Now you might be thinking of good grades and students acing your class learning 100% of the content as the most important things and what you should be worrying about, but not necessarily. Even though our job is to teach, there are other things you should be paying attention to, especially at the beginning of your teaching life. Some of them have to do with students, other with teachers, school, teaching strategies, etc. So I asked 25 great teachers for help. These teachers have awesome experience, very different backgrounds, students, schools and teaching levels. They are educators from preschool to graduate school, from five to forty years of teaching experience. All of them are very committed and passionate teachers that have made a huge change in their students’ lives. Every single one of them has a good reason for being included in this list, advice for new teachers.
Trying to make a list of the truly important things to keep in mind, I asked every teacher mentioned below the following question: If you were in front of all the teachers in the world who are about to give their first class ever, what advice would you give them?
These are 25 pieces of advice from experienced teachers for new teachers:
Be patient, loving and kind. Remember that your students will learn from you, just as much as you will learn from them.
Agustín Carvajal, 8 years teaching
During your first week do not focus so much on the academics, try integration and especially class structure. If you have a well-defined structure and you are consistent, students will know what to expect, how routine works, how to hand in homework, what to do if they finish before time, how to line up, etc. This will make your life during the whole school year way easier.
Bettina Ibarra, 8 years teaching
We must always prepare our class as if were the first time so we can always be innovating our class.
Carlos Garza, 36 years teaching
Everyone has a mix of learning styles. The most important thing is to teach with love, and they will understand and learn.
Citlalli Cantú, 9 years teaching
If you’re going to teach, teach something that you like, that you are passionate about, it will be easy for your students to learn.
Consuelo Ríos, 22 years teaching
Whenever you stand in front of a class, try to find out what your students bring to class… that’s your first task of the day.
Humberto Rodríguez, 22 years teaching.
You’re about to start one of the most wonderful and challenging activities, educating students. A teacher is more than a knowledge transmitter, it is a mentor of life who will leave a deep mark on young people, a role model, a confidant, and, in many cases, a friend. So be successful, prepare yourself and enjoy this vocation enormously. Congratulations for being part of this select group that transforms lives.
Jorge Lozano, 25 years teaching
The best advice is to connect with your students. Before teaching Math you should know your kids, make them feel special and unique. We give them pictures and keep a record that shows their achievements so that the next teacher has the adequate information to connect since the first minute.
Julieta Vela, 32 years teaching
Be an example of good manners, stimulate students with opportunity, have emotional balance, live reality and face challenges. Teaching is about BEING and teaching BEING, it is about citizenship. Every student has a story, get to know it in order to guide correctly. Be careful with how you treat students, they will learn to do what they get from you. Be enthusiastic and committed responsibly to fulfill your purpose. Make sure you teach in solidarity and cooperation because only then we will be creating fair and peaceful societies, oriented to grow and not to be destroyed.
Lidia Elena de León, 31 years teaching
a) Respect your job, your students and be a good teacher but do not try to be the world’s best teacher, it is exhausting and you’re going to end up frustrated.
b) Try not to take work home, your family is more important and needs you.
c) Do not buy school supplies with your money, it is hard to stop once you do it and becomes an important expense. The process to report expenses and charging your school is complicated, but not impossible, do it.
Lupita Guzmán, 23 years teaching
Always come prepared to class and have a Plan B just in case. Keep students busy at all times, call them by their names and enjoy teaching!
Magda Treviño, 25 years teaching
Students don’t know if you’re afraid, just smile, take a breath and enter the room. Write the title of the topic that is being covered. Sometimes it is not about what you say but how you say it. When someone learns, everything has to do with feelings, sometimes we don’t remember what happened but how we felt. Make students feel they are important and they are loved. Beware of the extremes. If you have a favorite student do not show that difference, because they not like him/her and you will lose the rest of your students. Likewise if you do not like a student, that student does not need to know, take care of his/her self-esteem, that’s your job besides teaching the class.
Marcela Treviño, 27 years teaching
Study and understand about kids’ development and the exact stage in which your students are. With this you can choose the best strategies to get your students to learn.
Margarita Rosas, 5 years teaching
Stay open to learn new things. The way you sympathize with your students depends on your openness and how you approach them. Do not judge lightly, we do not know what there is inside each student, within their life and their being. Stay open!
Martha García, 16 years teaching
Remember that teachers leave a lasting impact on their children’s lives. Our students are not machines that can get repaired or changed, take care of them and treat them well.
Look for a teacher that you trust, it will always be positive to ask for an advice.
Learn to listen to your students; teachers are confidants, friends and even parents for them. Do your best every day, enjoy to the fullest your job.
How would you like others to treat your kids? Treat your students in that same way.
Mónica Salazar, 24 years teaching
a) Do some ice breaker according to age, it helps students to relax and you as a teacher to identify personalities and get to know students better.
b) Try to hum popular songs to ask for silence or during a transition between activities to keep the room in order and quiet. Kids will hum along.
c) Avoid raising your voice, when students are chatting a lot, lower your voice and play with volume, you will regain everyone’s attention.
Nayeli González, 13 years teaching
Always remember that you have a great treasure in your hands, be very careful in order to leave a mark in their hearts.
Nelly Ríos, 31 years teaching
a) Master the subject you are going to teach.
b) Establish rules and comply with them.
c) Try to make your class fun, pleasant and interesting.
d) Try to connect with students and get to meet them personally.
These four points will help create mutual respect in which the student will cooperate to learn and you as a teacher will enjoy your work even more.
Oscar González, 16 years teaching
As a teacher, learn how to work as a team and teach parents and students to do as well. It is very important to know how to listen and understand every student, be empathetic, put your heart into everything you do and nothing will be complicated.
Sanjuana Rodríguez, 33 years teaching
Never lower the bar for expectations. Students will meet your expectations no matter how high or low they are. Get to know your students. The better the connection you have with them, the more comfortable they will be to take risks. Encourage the use of academic language throughout the day. Students will use and come to understand words they hear regularly. Trust and honesty are the foundations for healthy relationships. Live it with your students.
Susan Hayes, 19 years teaching
As a teacher you can’t be arrogant or selfish because when you’re arrogant you can’t keep learning and when you’re selfish you do not share experiences with others.
Susana Rodríguez, 20 years teaching
While learning to be a teacher, remember that you’re an apprentice! Let go of your ego!
Tania Ramírez, 16 years teaching
Don’t forget to set rules the first day of school and review them through the week or as long as it’s necessary. I always use a rhyme for transitions or to gather the students and their attention if they are dispersed. Always have fun and enjoy what you are doing.
Tannya Rodríguez, 12 years teaching
a ) Always apply the positive and the negative consequences you established and keep the promises you make to your students.
b) Teach your class in the same way you would’ve liked to be taught your classes when you were your students’ age. Content matters, your attitude and passion make a difference and have an impact in your students.
c) Kids are always listening and paying attention, so always remember they are your best and worst judge because you are the one that sets the standards and are supposed to meet them.
Teresa Cantú, 24 years teaching
It is your first time in front of a group and you’re not nervous? Get worried, because being nervous when you’re working with a group of students is not just normal, it’s good! This will mean that you are worried to know if the strategy you planned, for students to appropriate knowledge, worked or not, and if you keep record of what didn’t work, you will try new strategies and you will go, nervously, to the reality of the classroom to face that uncertain world. I enjoy this activating nervousness.
Tomás Sánchez, 40 years teaching
Well, there’s not much left to say but thank you for reading and I hope all these tips help you in your teaching adventure. Enjoy it, and always remember the big difference you will make in your students’ lives, choose to make it positive.
To every teacher that contributed to this post, thank you for taking your time to remember those words you would’ve loved to hear when you started. I know that when teachers come together to help each other, great things happen, let’s hope this article becomes a big helping hand for every teacher, new and experienced, around the world. Make sure to share it with every teacher you know, maybe one of the tips can help him/her, probably one of them is exactly what someone needs to read right now.
Thanks for your time and hope to write again soon, have a great day!