Did you know teaching is one of the most popular occupations in the U.S., with about 310,000 teachers entering the profession annually?
It’s hard to believe that everyone currently thriving as a teacher was once in your shoes — unsure of what to expect or how to navigate this challenging job. But, becoming an early childhood education professional doesn’t happen overnight (as much as we’d like it to).
As a new teacher, you might wonder where to begin. The good news is we’re here to help – no one knows how to prepare you for this journey better than us.
At ChildCare Education Institute, we have years of experience assisting educators like you by providing professional development training to facilitate your growth and help your students excel.
Here are seven useful tips for new teachers to ease the transition and set you up for success.
The first item on our tips for new teachers guide is to seek answers from your seasoned colleagues. It isn’t common knowledge to know the best places to find craft supplies or the most useful approach for teaching a numbers lesson. Even though you’re in a new environment, that doesn’t mean you can’t lean on fellow teachers to steer you in the right direction.
We recommend putting together a list of questions and sharing them all at once when you have time. Using a notepad or a digital list in your notes app, write things that come to mind during the day to ensure you get answers to all your questions. This is one of our tips for new elementary teachers because it allows you to be more informed and considerate of the teacher’s time.
Trying to do everything all at once is the quickest way to get teacher burnout – and first-year teachers are more likely to experience it than other educators.
First, pace yourself, so you’re less likely to make mistakes. And, even if you do, give yourself grace. One of our top tips for new teachers is to do the best you can because nothing will ever be perfect – but it will always be enough for your students.
It can also be beneficial to use pre-made materials so you can focus on being efficient. We suggest using any that are available online, specifically on a site that regularly provides resources for educators, such as Teachers Pay Teachers. Additionally, there are a number of early childhood education influencers who have free resources you can download. Our top picks are Preschool Powol Packets and The Pre-K Day!
Another useful idea to help you be productive during the day is working together with other staff and students. One of our favorite tips for new elementary teachers is to have your students get involved. Assign reasonable tasks to them and walk through how to do each one. For example, explain where to put toys or coloring books away once they’re finished. Or, show them where to find paper towels to wipe their desks before they leave for the day. These exercises are great for teaching them about responsibility and accountability.
Learning classroom management tips for new teachers, like best practices for handling tasks, will help you plan your day to achieve work-life balance. Additionally, it will allow you to focus on what matters most — your students.
As you figure out how to balance life as an educator, you’ll realize some days can be mentally and emotionally draining. You’re constantly putting students’ needs first, which is why another one of our tips for new elementary teachers is prioritizing your mental health.
One easy and effective self-care idea is disconnecting. Take a break from your phone, computer, and TV and substitute those activities with reading, cooking, or being outdoors. “Unplugging” will relax your mind, so it’s recharged by the time you return to work the next day.
Another way to practice self-care is by resting your body. Oftentimes educators don’t hit the pause button because they feel there’s always more work to be done. As a result of keeping the ball rolling, teacher burnout can affect and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Make an effort to include rest in your schedule to drive productivity. Your body will thank you, and you’ll feel refreshed.
No matter how you spend your “me” time, remember that self-care for teachers is important to be the best version of yourself for your students.
It will feel impossible to do your job with everything out of place. That’s another reason why knowing the best classroom management tips for new teachers can help you stay ahead of the game to take on the day.
One way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is by tracking supplies in the classroom. Create an inventory list with each item and how much of it you have currently. We recommend keeping a running record of everything so your list is constantly updated. When you see you’re almost out of an item, be proactive and get more of what you need.
Another best practice for classroom management tips for new teachers is to develop lessons in advance, so you’re not scrambling to figure out student activities at the last minute. Once you put plans in place, create a list of materials you’ll need and ensure they’re on hand and ready for the activities. Additionally, it can help to have an evergreen backup lesson plan in case something happens, like leaving your classroom to another teacher at the last minute.
Last, schedule important dates in your calendar. This should be on your list of classroom management tips for new teachers because you’ll have all your upcoming appointments in one place. This will help you keep track of important events such as parent-teacher conferences and staff meetings.
Every early childhood educator knows it’s rare that things go perfectly according to plan. Disruptions will likely occur, and a key skill is learning how to make adjustments. That’s why one of our useful tips for new elementary teachers is flexibility.
Be prepared to move away from regularly scheduled activities to give your students what’s best for them at the moment. It’s not uncommon for things to come up during the school day that can cause delays (which we all know can be frustrating). Create a list of backup activities you can turn to if things go off schedule.
The foundation for impactful classroom experiences will always be the ability to connect with your students. One of the most essential tips for new teachers is to get to know your kiddos as much as possible to create meaningful relationships with them. When you consistently interact with your little learners, you’ll have fewer behavior-related issues and more engaged students.
Make lessons memorable for your students by adding entertaining and fascinating elements. For example, you can incorporate their favorite characters into science activities or read a book they really enjoy. Whatever you do, always be enthusiastic and upbeat, so your students feel comfortable sharing their interests with you.
The relationships you build with parents matter just as much as your students. They will feel more confident in your ability to teach their kids if you demonstrate a positive attitude and effectively communicate. Parents might feel apprehensive about leaving their children with a teacher who doesn’t keep them in the loop or listen to their needs. These reasons alone are why we’ve included this in our tips for new teachers guide.
We recommend scheduling monthly conferences with parents, so they are up to date on their child’s progress. It also helps to save each student’s work in their individual portfolios, so you have something to speak to during meetings. Not only will it display their child’s successes, but it will also help you earn the parents’ trust since you’re aware of their strengths and areas for improvement.
Looking for more tips for new teachers? Staying in the know about the latest techniques and methods is a great way to position you as a trusted educator for families and other staff.
ChildCare Education Institute is a helpful resource for new teachers who want to learn best practices in the classroom.
We offer courses such as How Children Learn, Classroom Management, and Elements of Professionalism in Early Childhood Education.
Learn more about these courses and our entire catalog of offerings at CCEI Online today!