Post # 1
I just got a job offer from my first choice school that I interviewed with and now I am going to be a 7th grade language arts teacher in just a few days!
I could not be more excited about this but I am also more nervous than I have ever been in my life. This will be my first time in a classroom (I am in a MAT program but have not had my internship yet) and I only have 5 days until the first day of school!
Can any of you fellow teachers give me some advice for how to handle the first few weeks of classes? Or any advice you wish you had before you entered a classroom for the first time?
Post # 3
Congrats. I think the biggest thing is consistency. Lay out your rules on the first day and stick to them. Sometimes it’s tempting to make exceptions (for one of them or for yourself) but they will respect you more and trust you more if you’re always consistent.
Also, don’t bribe them. If you start promising movies or treats or other things, they’ll start demanding movies, treats or whatever else they’ve been bribed with. This one’s hard sometimes if other teachers do it because you’ll start hearing, “But Mrs. X lets us watch a movie every Friday…” but it’s easier in the long run if you never go there.
Post # 4
Look up teaching with love and logic. Stock up on wine.
Post # 5
I don’t have any advice to give, other than to say congratulations!
I am going to be graduating next december with my Early Childhood Education degree and I’m scared to death about my first job!!!!
What if I start hating kids all of a sudden? Ok, maybe that’s not exactly realistic….
Post # 6
Congrats! I teach English to Freshmen and LOVE it. I would say you need to establish relationships with your students immediately. Learn their names right away, have them share about themselves, etc. Show them you respect them and it will get you much farther. Figure out what expectations are most important for you (ex. For me it is being respectful, responsible, and ready) and emphasize them early and constantly. Try not to go overboard on expectations/rules as keeping it broad helps. Make sure you are organized and consistent in your routine. They need to know you are not going to lose their work because of disorganizatian…some will take advantage of that. Finally, remember to give them choices in how to learn and show their learning. Everyone learns differently and deserves to learn in a way authentic to them. You’ll do great!
Post # 7
I’m in the same situation, MAT and everything! Congratulations!
My BFF teaches 4th grade and just got through her first year. Her advice was, “Fake it till you make it.” haha. She also said to make sure you set clear boundaries with your class and establish good rapport with your students.
Post # 8
Be super strict in the beginning of the year… you can always let up a little later, but you can’t go the other way around.
Learn their names quickly. Try to get to know them in the beginning of the year (an icebreaker game is sometimes good for this – I like two truths and a lie – I do it with pre-made popsicle sticks with their names, I’ll say my 3 things, then pick a name to guess which I’m lying about and then they have to say theirs, I’ll pick a name, and so on and so forth).
Communicate with parents (I need to work on this more)… if you have to make a bad phone call, try to follow it with a good call.
I teach HS bio and I love it! I also started teaching without any student teaching – I went alternate route and am hopefully finishing up my Master’s this semester (after starting my 6th year teaching). Good luck!
Post # 9
Congrats! I am in the MAT program as well and taught 7th grade ELA for 3 years, and I LOVED it!! I now teach 2nd grade, but I miss my middle schoolers. As for advice, make sure you set the bar high the first month. Let them know that you mean business and don’t give in to them. Also, it is crucial to be prepared and organized (and if all else fails just pretend lke you know what you are doing!). For the first day I always showed a powerpoint about me and had them do something about themselves. You will be fine, enjoy, you will love it!
Post # 10
Congrats!!! I worked for a non profit for 3 years after college and then did an alternate route program to become a teacher. I LOVE IT! It is nerve wracking though when you have 20 kids staring at you and it’s your first time in a classroom!
Like other bees have said, BE STRICT! Classroom management is definitely the hardest part. Set out ground rules and definitely have a reward system (even if it’s just like homework bucks, etc.) for the kids. Don’t be mean- but don’t take any shit!
Some advice at the school level – schools are SO political (at least here). Join committees, make your face seen in the office, go above and beyond, especially your first year so that the administration knows you. My school can get VERY catty like everyone is a high schooler – so try to stay out of that nonsense (surprisingly, i find it to be the older, more veteran teachers who act like this).
You will have bad days where you want to cry and give up teaching and punch kids in the face, but it is ALL WORTH IT! Just start each day as a new day – if a kid really pissed you off the day before, don’t hold it against him. Start each day happy (and you will be when you have christmas break, spring break, holidays, and summers off 🙂 )
Let us know how your first day goes!!!!
Post # 11
I forgot – wash your hands constantly (keep hand sanitizer in the room all the time) AND get your flu shot!
I got sick within a week of my first year of teaching, then sick again within the first month! You’ll get immune to the kids weird bugs soon enough!
Post # 12
Congratulations! The important things have been covered by previous posters, but starting strict cannot be over-emphasized!
Post # 13
I started teaching in ’97, and someone recommended Harry Wong’s (yes, that’s his real name!) ‘The First Days of School’. It actually has some good ideas in it (some are misses, but overall, it gave me some confidence walking into the classroom as I hadn’t even student-taught). It’s an exciting time but also there’s a lot of anxiety, and some of his ideas helped. I know you will do great, though, and congrats!!
Post # 14
Thank you thank you thank you for the advice ladies!! I had my first day of training today and I am simultaneously thrilled by everything and so intimidated! Love the “fake it ’til you make it” line! I will surely be implementing that for the first few weeks haha
I’m glad to hear there are other teachers who started out without doing any internships! I was so scared I was the only one lol