If you’re getting ready for your first year as an elementary school teacher, make your job a little easier with these timely words of advice.

teacher talking to his colleagues in a classroomWhether you’re starting your first year as a new teacher or just beginning your BS in Elementary Education program, we hope these tips will help alleviate your new-teacher jitters.

  1. Listen to advice—but listen more to your inner voice.
    Fellow teachers are an invaluable, natural source of “in the trenches” advice. Although you are a new teacher, you should trust your instincts if certain advice doesn’t feel right or align with your core beliefs about education. Like most teachers, you will test different strategies. Some will inspire your students and some won’t. Your own teaching style will evolve over time as you strive to create an optimal learning environment. It may be hard to imagine right now, but one day new teachers will turn to you for advice.
  2. Share your own ideas with other teachers.
    You may be a new teacher, but that doesn’t mean your ideas don’t matter. After all, you have just completed a rigorous degree program and it prepared you for the teacher licensure exam. That means the curriculum was enriched with the latest research on child development and teaching strategies. You are more technology- and computer-savvy than any generation before you. You studied the latest, proven strategies for being an effective teacher. You successfully completed hundreds of hours of field experience in front of a classroom just to earn your teacher’s license. When you think about it, you’ll see that you have gained more practical experience and insights than you may realize.
  3. Observe other teachers.
    Getting advice and teaching strategies from other teachers is one thing, but seeing fellow teachers in action is even better. Take time to sit in and observe the teachers who have impressed you most with their helpful comments. Watch their advice come alive when they interact with their students.
  4. Create several methods of communicating with parents.
    Communicating though e-mail may work well for most parents, but don’t assume you will successfully reach all of them. Send notes home with students and make phone calls to parents from school. Communication is a two-way street, so make it easy for parents to get in touch with you, too.
  5. Post the next day’s schedule.
    At the end of each day, outline the next day’s schedule and place it where your students can easily see it. They like knowing what they can expect to happen the next day. Later in the school year, ask your students to write the schedule for you. Check off each listed item throughout the day. If you don’t get to some of them, add them later that day or the following day.

Online education programs such as a BS in Elementary Education help graduates develop the skills, knowledge, and character to be professional educators. As an enthusiastic new teacher, you already have what it takes to make a positive impact in elementary education.

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