A few years ago I wrote a blog post called 5 Mistakes New Teachers Make. I have had time to reflect on more of my experiences working with new teachers and I am ready to add to my original list of new teacher mistakes.
1. Bell Work. Bell work or daily warm ups are a key classroom management tool that should be used to some extent by teachers. This sets the tone for the upcoming lesson and teaches students that class begins as soon as they enter. These quick tasks are great for diagnostic and formative assessment. When students walk into the classroom they need to have a consistent routine of what is expected.Should they read the board? Get out their journals? Start the quick assessment on their desk? I have watched teachers let classes socialize for ten minutes before finally getting started on the lesson. Every minute counts.
2. Team Planning. Many new teachers feel that their ideas are not good enough to share, so they remain quiet during team planning sessions. However, there are a wealth of online resources to support teachers and help them when planning lessons. It can be very difficult for experienced teachers when new teachers do not contribute during planning sessions. I always love learning from new teachers – they have great ideas when they let them shine. It is important for new teachers to try and offer up some ideas. This shows the experienced teachers on your team that you are engaged in the meeting. The list below is a great place to start when looking for lesson ideas.
New Teacher Planning Assistance
- Facebook Groups – use the search tool in Facebook to locate subject specific groups.
- Pinterest – this website has transitioned from a social media sharing platform to a fantastic search engine.
- Teachers Pay Teachers – this website has thousands of lessons available for purchase.
- Subject Organizations – many subjects have specific non-profit organizations geared towards supporting teachers.
- Teacher Unions – my union produces quality educational lesson plans that support my curriculum. They also have a lending library which is free to use with my membership. Check with your local union to see what resources are available to you.
- Teacher Magazines – Educational Leadership from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is a good read about current educational thought.
- TeachingChannel – this website has a wide variety of videos related to teaching sorted by subject, grade or topic.
3. Reading Emails. I reserve time on Sundays for planning and lesson prep. I take the time to read through my work emails and write down important information in my daybook. It is important that new teachers set aside time to really read their email (not just skim it on their phone) and have their daybook or calendar nearby to write down key dates and times. By showing up unprepared for a meeting, field trip or school event you are disrespecting your colleagues who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to arrive prepared.
4. Social Media. New teachers forget that nothing is REALLY private on social media. Students are naturally curious about their teacher’s private lives. They will search for their teachers on social media and try to friend or follow them. If your settings allow students could even see your social media posts. Another thing for new teachers to remember is that if they friend or follow their colleagues than anything they post online could get screen captured and shared with others at school. Venting about colleagues and students on your social media accounts is unprofessional and could lead to serious consequences. Here are some key tips to maintaining a professional presence on social media.
5. Asking For Help. It is hard for new teachers to ask for help because they don’t know what or how to ask for help. It is difficult for anyone, especially a first-year teacher to admit they need assistance. However, by not asking for advice it can lead to other issues later on. Hopefully, you can find an in person or digital mentor ask your daily questions. I would much rather have the new teachers that I am mentoring ask for guidance and support than trying to stumble through on their own. Teaching is not an island profession, we must support each other through the good and the bad.
I love working with and mentoring new teachers. I get regular emails and have conversations on social media from new and experienced teachers looking to learn more about topics from my blog or teaching resources from my store. What I love about teachers is that we never stop learning, and I believe this enthusiasm is passed on to our students.
New teachers, you have one of the hardest jobs in the world – and the only training is live on the job. You can’t flip to a manual to answer a student’s question. Your best resource is your in person teaching team, and the digital professional learning community you find online. Use all the available resources to you so that you can have the best year possible.
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