Tips for New Teachers

I am looking forward with great anticipation, to the start of the new school year (only 3 sleeps to go!).  After 30 years I still get “butterflies” in my stomach. I love the kids. I love the challenges.

“Teaching is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gunna to get!” [Apologies to Forrest Gump] So the students are probably wondering which teacher/s will I get, and likewise I am wondering who I will get. Which students will be my biggest challenges this year?

Another reason why I am looking forward to 2010 is the great opportunity I have been given to Mentor a beginning Teacher. I suspect that I am going to learn more than he will in the process. As with students in my classroom I will have to be patient and earn respect.

The first few days in front of a new class can be scary, so I will be giving my Mentoree a few “survival” tips:

1. Get to know the students and particularly their names as quickly as possible. Choose suitable learning activities that will enable this.

2. Be organised – prepare lessons well, file lessons and resources, have extra material ready to differentiate the lesson, get to class on time, etc.

3. Be flexible. Don’t allow changes to over stress you. Allow lessons to change to accomodate students interests, gaps in knowledge, etc.

4. Have fun. Have a sense of humour. Enjoy yourself.

5. Have a task eg. revision questions ready at the start of the lesson so students get straight to work.

6. Don’t take student misbehaviour personally. Develop consistent processes to deal with behaviour.

7. Be part of a team. Seek help quickly when you need it.

8. Reflect on each lesson. What worked well (repeat it). What didn’t work (modify or discard it). Keep a journal.

9. Look after yourself physically and emotionally. egs. healthy eating, exercise, meditation, relaxation, sports, hobbies, etc.

10. Participate in extra curricula activities (get to know the kids outside the classroom). Don’t let educational politics effect you too much.

11. Manage your time well. egs. Keep a diary, use reminders on your mobile phone, say NO sometimes.

Phew!!! Quite a list. Have you got other tips?

So for a new teacher it starts out about survival. But there should also be a longer term goal – to become the perfect teacher. Maybe there isn’t such a thing, but it is a very worthy goal. Mister2pi over at My World summarises it in his post Earning My Job as follows:

Quadrant 1 (Nice/Good): The Promised Land. The students respect you because you earned it, not because you demand it. They feel comfortable coming to your class and can focus on learning from you because you bring “it” everyday. You’ve got good ideas oozing from your pore. The students are inspired to learn not because of your brilliant oratory skills but because you catalyzed the question that will make them hunt down the answer themselves.

So bring on the new year and all the new challenges it will bring!


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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4 Responses to Tips for New Teachers

  1. >have extra material ready to differentiate the lesson,

    Are new teachers expected to ‘differentiate’ right from the start? #2 would stress me more if I were new.

    I offer new teachers materials of mine (I’m at college level) in Word files, so they can edit as they wish. When I’m new to a course, I like to find a structure I can start from, and modify as I go.

  2. webmaths says:

    Excellent advice Sue! You have caught me being over zealous! A think a new teacher needs a simple structure (KISS Principle) to work from initially. However, having one of your Word files ready for students who are finished and bored would be wise. Thanks for your comment I appreciate the feedback. [Jeff]

  3. toze12 says:

    Hey JT, Toze here. Congratulations on the Blog, it’s outstanding. I will be passing the link on to our maths department and if you don’t mind I might use it as an example during our first 3 days of PD during the 21st Century Learning afternoon.
    I’ll read on a bit and see if I can see what you’ve been up to, but will have to get across the bridge sometime and catch up with everyone. Enjoy going back and I’ll see you soon.

  4. Pingback: The Kennel | Webmaths

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