Advice for First Year Teachers

tips for teachers

I’m entering my fourth year of teaching, and the world of education has changed radically since I began this journey of becoming a teacher at UMF. Veteran teachers are saying now that they don’t know how younger teachers are going to make a career out of this, because things are getting so incredibly difficult and just not fun!

With that being said, I still remember my first year of teaching. It was not the greatest year, and I learned SO much and it really shaped the kind of teacher I am today! So, I figured I’d share some tips for first year teachers, to ensure survival 😉

  1. SET BOUNDARIES. When I was in college, my science education professor told me about how she stays at work an extra hour each night to get her work done, so that she can go home and BE with her family, and not trying to spend time with her daughter and husband and try to juggle grading and everything else that comes with teaching. I really took this to heart, because balance has always been a priority for me! I spent the first few months of my teaching career staying at school until 5:30-6, so that I could get everything prepped for the next day. I am SO glad that I set this boundary for myself early on – I do not bring any work home with me – ever. I arrive at school at 7am, and I leave at 3pm due to my two hours of commuting, and that’s that. If it doesn’t get done, I’ll do it the next day!
  2. ASK FOR HELP. Don’t reinvent the wheel! The first year of teaching is ALL about survival. So, don’t kill yourself trying to create activities from scratch! Ask your co-workers for some stuff that they do and check out the interwebs. Then as the years go on, start to tweak those activities to make them your own.
  3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Trust me on this one. You’re talking a LOT while you’re a teacher, and we often forget to drink water! Drinking plenty of water keeps our voices able and fends off headaches and hunger!
  4. STAY HOME. If you’re really sick, just do everyone a favor and stay home. Don’t worry about whether or not they’ll find a sub, just take care of you so that way you can return to work and be ready to do your best! Everyone will understand because they don’t want to get sick either 😉
  5. EMERGENCY SUB PLAN FOLDER. On the note of staying home if you’re sick, have an emergency sub plan folder ready to go with attendance lists, activities that can be done in any of your classes, and the rules of the classroom. That way if you’re out last minute, there’s always something ready to go! When I first started, I gathered a bunch of general science activities that would spread out over seven days. I’ve never had to use all seven, but they’ve certainly come in handy!
  6. LAUGH. It’s okay to laugh, and crack a smile before December. You have to have a little fun or you’ll go crazy!
  7. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Sometimes kids are jerks, but most of the time it has nothing to do with you! Just keep smiling and treat them with kindness, but don’t be afraid to talk to them about how it’s not okay to be disrespectful.
  8. KEEP A NOTEBOOK. I have two notebooks. One is a place where I jot down ideas of things I want to differently in the following year. The second notebook is a daily log of what I did in class that day, which kids were absent (this will be super handy when it comes time for missing work and kids claim they were absent!), and if there were any incidents that day.
  9. MAKE YOUR ROOM INVITING. But don’t put a lot of energy into it! It’s great to add some fun touches to your classroom, but the reality is that there are bigger things to worry about, and you never know how long you’ll be in that classroom!
  10. ADD PERSONAL TOUCHES. You’re going to be spending 40+ hours a week in your classroom. Bring in some personal touches like wall art or photos to help make your space a GOOD space for you to be in!

Phew! There you have it! I know this was a long one, but thanks for hanging in there! If you’re a teacher, share other tips you have for new teachers in the comments below!


If you liked this post, you might like these also!

tips for teachers

comments +

Leave a Reply

You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

I share all things personal, business, tips, and life as a mom and business owner here on the blog!

I'm Linda!

hi friend!

i'm a mama of two, a razzleberry peace tea hoarder, and a photographer

let me tell yours

I Love
 Love Stories



Photos by linda barry


© Linda barry photography 2023

50 Market St, Ste 1A, #236, South Portland ME 04106