24 Tips for New Teachers … that Other Teachers Might Not Tell You

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  1. It is okay to plan assignments that you aren’t going to grade.
  2. Be nice to your custodians. They deal with enough crap already. And vomit.
  3. Set firm boundaries between home life and work life, even if other teachers tell you it’s impossible.
  4. Use some of your sick days. Use them for rest. Use them to develop yourself. Use them to travel.
  5. Fight the urge to gossip about students or teachers. It feeds negativity in your soul. It also lets teachers know that you’re the kind of person who would gossip about them.
  6. It is okay to give students full credit for trying so you don’t have to grade every question right or wrong.
  7. Keep a big hat in your classroom for field trips, supervision, & emergency drills.
  8. Keep a beach chair in your room. Take it outside to eat lunch or grade papers. Just get yourself outside.
  9. Trade your sit-down desk for a stand-up desk. You’ll be way less likely to die of a heart attack, and after the first two weeks, you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
  10. Empower students to do classroom jobs.
  11. Let students prove you wrong. Then admit you were wrong. You will earn their respect and get them paying attention because who doesn’t like proving the teacher wrong?
  12. Laugh. A lot.
  13. Try try try to not take papers home. It’s possible. I did it for 6 years. You can too. If you put your foot down and make some changes.
  14. Call home when “bad kids” do well.
  15. When you don’t know an answer, admit it. Then empower your students to find the answer you don’t know so they can teach you. Your students will grow to trust you when you say you DO know.
  16. Leave your classroom once or twice before Thanksgiving to do something unexpected on campus so the kids will see. Go play with all of them at recess. Join the middle school basketball game. Set up a Thriller flash mob for Halloween. Something that you can do splendidly. You’d be surprised how this show of your realness and coolness will help classroom management.
  17. Boys want respect. Girls want love. Give them the unconditional love or respect they need and your life gets way easier.
  18. Male teachers: Defend all the girls from sexist or degrading comments, thoughts, or actions.
  19. Female teachers: Defend all the boys from male-bashing comments, thoughts, or actions.
  20. All teachers: Ban phrases used as insults like “you’re so retarded” or “stop being so gay” or any other such language from your classroom that minimize a group of students.
  21. Don’t yell in anger. Ever.
  22. Ask dumb questions. They aren’t dumb.
  23. Show lots of love for the office secretaries. Lots. Thank them. Lots. You’ll be glad you do.
  24. Next year, don’t forget you were once a new teacher. Help the newbies.

Conversation of the Day: What’s a new tip you’d like to share with new teachers?

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