Being a first-time teacher is a lot like being a first-time student as you battle the back to school jitters with a mix of nervous anticipation and excitement. Rest assured these feelings are perfectly natural and will quickly disappear once you get those first few weeks of teaching successfully behind you.
A lot of seasoned teachers felt the same way you’re feeling when they started their career as a new teacher. You’ve learned so much, and have so many creative ideas you’ve come up with to keep the lesson plans exciting. While all of your experience in the classroom has helped prepare you up to this point, you will continue to learn and grow into a better version of your teaching self as you gain more hands on experience, especially during your first year of teaching. There are lots of ways you can fill your teaching toolbox. Let’s talk about a few things you can do to get a jump start on your experiences!
1. Build Relationships
While it’s important to have positive relationships outside of work, none of them can relate to the trials and triumphs of teaching quite like a fellow teacher can. Finding like-minded people in the same profession as yourself can make for an excellent support system, which is especially important when you’re just starting out in your career.
2. Find a Positive Mentor
Negativity can be contagious, so when seeking out an experienced mentor to give you advice or support, try and avoid those cynical and unhappy teachers who may be looking for someone new to complain or gossip to.
3. Give Yourself an Assignment
Much like a new business owner who drafts a business plan or creates a mission statement, it can be helpful for a first-year early childhood educator to write down their goals, purpose, and vision for the upcoming year. If writing brings you comfort, you might even consider starting a professional journal. Think of how special that journal will be after you complete your first year and can use it as a reminder or a reflection of how far you’ve come as a teacher.
4. Plan Your Classroom
Decide how you want to decorate or design your classroom. When planning out your classroom layout, you will also need to decide how to best arrange the room, such as where the tables, desks or chairs should go. It’s okay to reach out to your mentor or fellow educators for help if you’re unsure of how to set up your classroom, or if you just need a little extra design inspiration.
5. Create Lesson Plans
Planning out your lessons several weeks in advance will help you feel much more prepared and confident those first few weeks while you’re still adjusting to your new environment.
6. Believe in Yourself
As is the case in any new career, there may be some moments in the beginning where you start to doubt or question if you’ve made the right career choice. The important thing to keep in mind is that things will get easier with time and experience, so don’t let those bad days take over and get the best of you. Remember, even those seasoned early childhood educators were once in your position.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Teaching can be physically and mentally draining at times, especially for a new early childhood educator. New teachers might find themselves surprised by how much walking and standing is required throughout the day. Wearing comfortable shoes with good support can be helpful in preventing tired, aching feet at the end of the day. With a new school year also comes the exposure to new germs and illness, so it’s especially important that you get enough sleep and eat a proper diet in order to maintain your health and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
It’s easy for new teachers to get so wrapped up in their work that they forget to give themselves a much-needed mental break as well. Plan some fun and enjoyable, non-teaching related activities to do in your downtime. You’ve earned it.
Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers out there, and the best teachers are those who feel called to the field. If your passion for teaching is pushing you to explore your educational options for becoming a teacher, consider earning your early childhood education degree at Athena Career Academy. We’re accredited, offer flexible class schedules, and we have no wait list! It’s time to take action and get yourself onto a fulfilling career path. Our admissions team would love to fill you in on all that we have to offer, so call us today!