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3 Ideas Every New Teacher Needs

Photo by Renato Ganoza

Whether it is your first year in your own classroom or you are about to begin your student teaching assignment, that first year teaching can be stressful.  We asked veteran teachers to share some of their best tips and tricks with us to help you get through the year with a smile.  The three tips below are a perfect reminder that every teacher is human and goes through many of the same ups and downs during the first year of teaching.

Transition Time Tip

This idea was sent in by Lorri, a 3rd Grade Teacher, in Branford, FL.  Although she has been teaching for many years, she remembers the anxiety that transition and down time gave her.  “As a new teacher many years ago, I created individual cards with a time filler idea on each and put them on a circle ring. I kept it hanging in a handy spot and this kept transition times or those few minutes we had to wait for something from becoming a discipline-filled nightmare,” she recalls. I took it with me as we went to lunch or library or anywhere else. It made me feel better prepared, less stressed during these odd minutes and kept my students occupied and happily engaged in a learning or sharing activity.”

Daily Journaling

During your first year of teaching, you will be harder on yourself than anyone else.  Sandi, a Kindergarten Teacher, from Blue Point, NY suggests that you give yourself a break and journal.  “As a new teacher, each day can be exciting, overwhelming, challenging and exhausting,” she admits.  “Keep it simple! Don’t try to take on too much. Celebrate your successes by keeping a daily journal of something you think went well or reminded you of the reason you became a teacher. When you’ve had a difficult day, you’ll be able to read what you’ve written and feel proud of the job you’re doing.”

“Had a Bad Day” Folder

Tara, a 3rd Grade Teacher, in Bedford, KY knows just how easy it is to let the bad outweigh the good.  “As a new teacher, I always had a bad habit of letting the compliments or expressions of gratitude that I got from parents or students breeze by me, while I dwelled on the complaints and issues with families,” she explains.  “To help you deal with the difficult days and remember that there are probably a lot more families happy with you than ones who are unhappy, create a “Had a Bad Day” folder with pleasant notes from parents or students, that you can take out whenever you have a bad day or get a complaint to remind yourself why you are doing this demanding job.”

Veteran teachers, what are some of your best teaching tips for new teachers?  New teachers, what are some of the issues you are facing that you need help with?  Share with us by leaving a comment below.

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Jon Spexarth
Jon Spexarth

Great ideas! I really like the transition activity cards...looks like I have a new project to work on!


These are great ideas! I just finished student teaching and began teaching, so I really am going to try this! I hadn't thought of how important it is to keep the positive notes and experiences close to help with hard days! So far I haven't had any overwhelming bad days, but I'm sure there will be days when I am discouraged, and having positive things around will definitely help!


These are absolutely terrific ideas that will even help veteran teachers! I'd say don't forget in January when you come back to model and practice procedures and classroom rules again! Children tend to forget or act like they forget. Having those in place again will help make your 2nd half of the year go smoothly! If your behavior classroom management plan didn't work in the first half of the year change it up after Christmas and give everyone including yourself a fresh start! Remember each class is different and what works one year might not work the next!