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Instructional Practice

Lessons From My First Year: Part 1


Everyone who has ever taught has advice for first-year teachers, and everyone who has ever been a first-year teacher wants advice. Who better to give advice to new teachers than those who just completed their first year? Below you will find advice from four Teaching Excellence alumni teachers who recently completed their first year of teaching. The question this time was simple:

What advice would you give to a first-year teacher?

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your first year of teaching is unlike anything else you’ve ever done and no matter how self-sufficient you were in college, your life will be much easier during your first year if you ask for help. Ask your IC, your grade level chair, your team teachers, or anyone you feel comfortable with. Everyone’s been through the first year teaching experience and knows how overwhelming it can be, so they’re all happy to help and won’t think any less of you for asking. J” –Janette Martinez, YES Prep Gulfton


“1) It gets better–I promise. 2) Don’t feel the need to absorb, let alone implement, all of the techniques and best practices that are presented to you during your first year. 3) Don’t let the few negative incidents of the day or week overshadow or make you fail to acknowledge all of the positive things that are happening with your students. 4) You can’t be Superman for every student all the time, but you can be Superman for some students some of the time.” –Samuel Lee, YES Prep Southeast


“Take a deep breath! Everything will be okay. J Consistency is key. Once you establish your expectations, make sure you follow through with them on a daily basis.” –Dymon Morgan, KIPP Sunnyside High School


“During your first year of teaching, you will need to be very organized and think ahead. You will always need to know what you have planned, down to the detail. This will help you feel like a confident leader in front of your students. Having said this, recognize that there will be a handful of students who are not inherently on board with your plan. It is also your role to set them up for success. Always look for the good in your students and try to see things from their perspective. Getting angry at them only makes them feel misunderstood. Try to be as proactive as you can so that the class runs smoothly and all the logistics are thoughtfully addressed. Always be fair and firm with the students. The goal is for your students to feel that your class is fair, predictable, positive, and a place for them to behave and learn. Do not be surprised if your students misbehave on a day when you are disorganized, not fully in the moment, or unfair. Teaching is an art. I hope you find your way of enjoying your job and providing a quality education to your kids. I had to find the grade level that fit me best! Not every teacher is suited for every grade level and subject.” –Katie Appel, YES Prep North Central


Join the conversation by sharing your advice for new teachers in the comments.



One thought on “Lessons From My First Year: Part 1

  1. Thank you for all the strategies and suggetions to organize my classroom, It was helpfully in the fist week.

    Posted by Karina Quezada | August 25, 2013, 10:09 pm

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