Teaching is challenging, and teachers can suffer more job-related stress than any other profession. You need to be an educator, a counselor, a nurse, and a substitute parent all in one.
If you are just about to start your first year of teaching, you are probably feeling equal parts excited and terrified.
This is normal. An amazing new challenge is about to begin.
Have a look at our top tips for first-year teachers and get off to a great start.
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan again
In your first year of teaching, you will feel like there is never a time you are not planning. You will not be experienced enough to think on your feet yet. This will come with enough time and practice.
Plan your lessons and your syllabus. Plan your classroom layouts, decorations, and seating plans. Then be prepared as nothing goes exactly to plan.
Over-plan your lessons just a little bit. Lessons will take longer than you expect at first, so this way, you will always have a few extra activities in your back pocket for the next time things go off course.
2. Reduce Teacher Talk
One of the worst things you can do as a teacher is a talk too much. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your role as a teacher is actually to allow the students to talk.
Ask questions instead of simply telling them the answers. Probe them as to why they think what they do.
Ask them to read questions out loud. It will make them think and save your voice as well.
3. Don’t Overstrain Your Voice
Your voice is your most powerful tool. Without it, you will find it difficult to run and manage a class. That said, most teachers experience some kind of throat strain or voice injury in their first year.
Practice classroom management techniques that signal it is time to be quiet without shouting. You can do this through hand and body signals. Silence is also a potent tool.
4. Use Online Tools
There are lots of great online solutions to help bring a creative spark to your classroom. Games, quizzes, and surveys can be played online with students’ own phones in the classroom.
Some great teaching apps will also work with your learning management system, such as this online algebra problem bank, which will take some of the strain out of teaching a math class.
5. Be Consistent
Whatever systems you put in place at the beginning have to be consistent throughout the whole school year. Do not start changing reward or punishment schemes halfway through as this is unfair.
If you are strict about one thing for one student, do the same for all the students. Do not play favorites. This will absolutely come back to haunt you once the kids catch on, and they will catch on.
Top Tips for First-Year Teachers
Your first year will be the toughest and most challenging teaching year of your career. Apply some or all of these tips for first-year teachers, and you may find it is also the most enjoyable too!
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