10 Tips for New Teachers
There are many questions that new teachers ask before walking into their classroom on the first day of school. In a recent edWebinar, Dr. Monte Tatom, Director of Institutional and Church Research at Heritage Christian University, Taylor Warren, a first grade teacher, and Ashley McCrory, a kindergarten teacher, provided new teachers with tips for the ten most common questions.
- What if I get a grade/subject I didn’t want?
Do your best to learn as much as possible through videos, pre-reading, and prepping for lessons. The material will become more comfortable to teach when taught over multiple years. Take this as a fun opportunity to learn along with your students. Be flexible with shifting gears during a lesson and reach out to your PLN for resources and guidance.
- What supplies do I need to buy before my first day?
Depending on the financial stability of the school district, you may use your funds for classroom supplies. Essential items to purchase should include organization supplies such as bins, drawer systems, labels, and blue sticky tack, flexible furniture for suitable learning environments and a digital or paper planner for faculty meetings, PD events, and parent conferences. The presenters caution against buying too much classroom supplies at the beginning of the school year as you may find that what you thought you needed is sitting in a closet.
- What do I need to do to prepare myself for the first time that I meet my students?
Understanding students’ health issues, learning disabilities, and educational plans such as an IEP or a 504 before the start of the school year can create a calm and safe environment for all students. Sending personal notes home can let your students and parents learn about you and ease students’ worries and transitions into a new grade.
- What should I do if I get an inclusion class and have to co-teach?
Communication is critical when co-teaching with a special education teacher. Meeting weekly to plan out lesson plans, develop classroom management strategies and routines will create an environment that is consistent, well organized, and supports all learners.
- How do you handle being assigned as a teacher to the gifted program?
When you are dealing with gifted students, teachers need to think out of the box. Their brains are always running, so keep them engaged but also give them brain breaks. You may also have gifted students with different strengths and weakness, so it is essential to pre-test, differentiate, and personalize their learning experiences.
- What do I do if I find out that I’m teaching three grades at one time?
Think of this situation as one where you are teaching multiple levels and not multiple grades. Develop a curriculum that can be differentiated for each grade level yet be transferrable from class to class. While these learning environments can benefit all students, be mindful of using the older students to teach the younger ones.
- How do I prepare to deal with an upset parent?
Always be proactive by informing parents about student incidents as soon as possible. Communicating with administration, listening to parents’ concerns, and documenting events can diffuse situations that can otherwise become confrontational. Staying calm and reassuring parents that you have their children’s best interests in mind can provide an opportunity for all parties to solve the issue together.
- How do I handle a parent’s request that their child should not take part in certain activities because of religious reasons?
When students are excluded from school activities, they may feel as though they are being punished. Respect the parent’s request but encourage them to send the child to school so that they can be included in other learning experiences going on during the school day.
- How do I prepare myself if I find out that I have a paraprofessional to assist me in my class?
Take the time to meet with the paraprofessional before the start of the school year. Explaining classroom routines, designating responsibilities, and supporting their understanding of the curriculum can lead to a partnership that is conducive to learning.
- How do I prepare myself if I find out that I am teaching my class in an alternative setting such as a stage in the cafeteria?
Being mobile with roll-around carts, consolidating supplies, and preparing for the learning space is key to adapting to non-traditional classrooms. Before the school year or semester check out the area where you will be teaching and make sure that the technology and other resources are available. Most importantly, prepare your lessons for the space you are in and not for the learning space you wish you had.
This broadcast was hosted by edWeb.net.
This article was modified and published by eSchool News.
About the Presenters
Dr. Monte Tatom received his Ed.D. in educational administration at Auburn University in March 1998. He has 26 years in K-12 education as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and coordinator of staff development. He retired from Mobile County Public School System in December 2005. He began working at Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) in January 2006, and retired from FHU in May 2019. Dr. Tatom now works for Heritage Christian University, serving as Director of Institutional and Church Research. He has actively been involved in educational technology since taking his first computer course at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL during Spring 1983 (EDM 510: Micro-computing Systems in Education).
Taylor Warren received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Freed-Hardeman University in 2017. She is starting her second year teaching first grade at Stuart-Burns Elementary. Taylor became a candidate in the M.Ed. in Instructional Technology program at Freed-Hardeman University in August of 2018. She will complete that program in July 2019. Her goal is to hopefully become an instructional technologist and continue to help students succeed.
Ashley McCrory is an elementary educator. She has taught in a small rural public school in Hardeman County, TN for five years. Ashley has taught every grade level from kindergarten to third grade and is currently teaching kindergarten. She obtained her undergraduate degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in instructional technology both through Freed-Hardeman University. Ashley’s professional goal is to combine her experience teaching lower elementary with her technology expertise and assist fellow teachers in using technology to enhance their teaching styles.
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