First Year Teachers!

Top 10 things I wish I’d know as a first-year teacher!!

Hello Bloggers!
As I end my first year… I can’t help but think about what I am going to do next year and all of the knowledge I have picked up along the way that I wished I knew at the start of the year! Talking with Georgia about all the exciting things that we both want to try next year and answering all of her unknown questions got me thinking, how many people out there are wondering the same things?
Well here it is all you new teachers!

 

My top 10 things I wish I knew in my first year:

 

Β 1.Behaviour Management Strategies


Going into your very first classroom you know that you need to control your class… however not all strategies work for your students or you as a teacher. I found that some of the time the strategies I was using weren’t all positive or making a difference. So my advice is to have a bank full of positive behaviour strategies that you are happy with using and figure out early which one of these fits best with your class.

Some of these strategies could include:

– Secret Student awards
– Blurt beans
– Secret word
– Brain Break
– Positive behaviour chart

I have created a pack of specific behaviour management strategies that I have used and LOVED! So take a look at our TPT!

 

2. Time management – planning lessons, break time, during teaching

From having other teachers and executive staff observing my teaching, at the start one thing they noticed was that my time management was a little bit off. So I would give some lessons more time and then not have enough time left for other lessons, or my lessons wouldn’t go for the specific amount of time I thought they would.
Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing though, however when you are planning you should cater time for student exploration. You may be teaching a specific lesson and students will question, taking the lesson down a learning path you may not have planned for. This is excellent to follow as your students will be more engaged, as they are learning something they want to.

 

3. Formative Assessment


Every teacher knows that assess your students is extremely important!!! There are many different ways you can assess your students learning during different areas of a lesson or a unit of learning.


Diagnostic or pre assessment:
– KWL charts
– Pre-test
– Observations
– Background knowledge dump
– Self assessment
– Entry ticket

Formative or during assessment:
– Observations
– Think/pair/share
– Exit slips
– Lesson understanding tracker
– Speed bump ticket
– Four corners quiz

Summative of after assessment:
– End of unit quiz
– Project
– Reflection journal
– Oral presentation
– Exit slip
– Rubric self assessment

I know for me, finding different forms of formative assessment I like and that gives me multiple view points of a students learning was really hard!!! So for myself and all you others out there that also find it difficult, I put together 14 different types of formative assessment tools that can be used in any classroom!

4. GET TO KNOW YOU… and teaching expectations



This I was really not prepared for!! In the first two weeks of term, generally teachers are doing get to know you games and tasks with their students to get a feel for:
– the different types of learners
– the friendship groups in your class
– the friendship clashes
– what your students interests are
– what are their backgrounds or cultures
– what they believe their strengths and weaknesses are, etc.

During this time teachers are also setting up their classroom codes, finding out what their students expect for them as a teacher and what they expect from them as students, discussing the type of classroom environment they want to encourage, AND MORE!

To help you with this process, Georgia and I created a ‘Get to know you‘ activities pack to get you through these first couple of weeks!! Visit our TPT to grab it!

 

5. READ YOUR EMAILS!!!


I can’t stress how important it is to keep on top of those emails… I thought that there may be like one or two emails sent out a day. WRONG! It is more like 20 a day… but don’t let this get you down.

A way I found throughout the year to keep up with these never ending emails was to:
– Come into work 5 minutes early just to check your emails
– Take your laptop home and read them at the end of the day πŸ˜›
– After break times get your students to read for 10-15 minutes while you quickly update yourselves on all the workplace news.


Hope this advice helps you to keep on top of it all πŸ™‚

6. Tracking student data

PLEASE if you are going to listen to anything I have written here, take this one on board!! Constantly track your students data for EVERYTHING. Whether it is maths test results, reading levels, writing goals and tests, keep track of how your students are doing will help you when writing reports. It also gives you very clear evidence of why you have given students specific marks, which will be handy when explaining A-E grades.

With this student data also keep all of their tests and pieces of work in a binder with their name on a sleeve. This will also be helpful when writing reports as you have in the sleeve exactly what students can do and what level they are achieving this at.

In my first semester I kept track of my students data, however their tests and marks were in seperate subject folders. Which I found out when writing reports is a real pain in the butt!! Especially when you want to take these results home to write reports. Instead of taking home 1 binder with all of their results… I was taking home 7!!
So have one binder and seperate the folder into subject areas, or separate it into sleeves per student. You just need to find what is easiest for you. I found having them separated into subject and in order of student name was the easiest for me because I could focus on just English comments and still have each students work there easy to access. This resource can be found in our teacher binder πŸ™‚

 

7. Report writing comments


Report writing as a first year teacher can be so confusing, difficult and TIME CONSUMING!!! The first time I wrote reports it took me weeks to finish them off and write them correctly. I know you must be thinking… How hard could it really be? My answer to that is pretty hard when you cant think of any more synonyms and start repeating yourself! Drives you a little mad haha

The difficult part about this is that many different schools write reports differently and want different writing styles. I know I found this difficult as I wanted to express their learning through the use of adjectives, however with such a small word count those adjectives are the first to go. So my advice is keep it simple. State what they can do and link it to you curriculum achievement standards.

8. TQI and PL reflections


To keep yourself as a registered teacher, each year you have to complete 20 hours of professional learning. Generally the school that you are at will provide you with some learning and opportunities to develop your skills in areas you are interested in.

If I can give you any advice around this topic it would be to write everything down!! Write about what you learnt in the PL, what teacher standards you feel it covered and how it developed your learning. Because when you go to submit the PL you have attended, these are some of the questions you will need to cover to reflect upon that PL.

In our teacher binder we have created, it has an area where you can write down your learning around the PL you have attended and what links it covers. Take a look and download it if you don’t have an area to remind you to do this πŸ™‚

 

9. Portfolio and progressing to proficiency

As a permanent or casual teacher you have a specific amount of time to gather evidence and put together a teaching portfolio. You can choose when you would like to complete this as long as it is in the time frame πŸ™‚
I am someone who is constantly pushing myself and furthering myself… so I decided to do it in my first year. This was super stressful but I can tell you it was also well worth it!!
If you are planning on doing your portfolio, my advice to you is to gather loads of evidence! Don’t be afraid to use many pieces of evidence and mash it up into one big evidence pack. Take lots of photos and even videos if you are doing a digital portfolio.

Linking your evidence to the teaching standards is the easy part… explaining how it meets the standards and reflecting upon this is a little more difficult.
As I have completed mine I am willing to share this with all of you out there πŸ™‚ However I do want you to keep in mind that my portfolio is massive and way overboard on what you actually are required to do. But I know having an example is sometimes exactly what you need!
So take a look πŸ™‚ I hope it helps you x

10. Out of school hours

I know sooo many people say “teachers have it good! you only work 9-3 right?”
WRONG!!! We are constantly working all the time. I don’t know about you, but I know for me when I lay down to go to sleep at night I am still thinking about what Im teaching the next day, what quizzes they may have to do, what issues I hadn’t fully resolved from the day before, what meetings I may have, etc. The list goes on and on…

The hard part about our job is that we are consistently switched on and thinking about those little people in our classes… How can we help them? What can we do better?
Which brings me to the amount of work we actually do at home or out of school hours…
I know for me there were time that I was at work until 6 or 7 at night and I was still taking things home! I know you will be thinking that you want to stay in front of everything and be ahead all the time, but you also need some YOU time.

Put a time limit on yourself. Tell yourself you are only going to work at home for an extra 2 hours, get the most important stuff done and leave the rest until the next day. You are also important and need to look after yourself, because if you are run down and tired… then you aren’t giving your students the attention and effort they need.

I really hope this post helps you new teachers, or even just teachers that needed a little bit of advice πŸ™‚ If you need anything at all please don’t hesitate to contact me or even comment below with any questions you may have! This is what we are here for πŸ™‚ we should share our knowledge with each other and help each other along the way.
Let me know if this was helpful to you! I want to meet your needs and help you out any way I can.

 

Love Mel x

I am a new educator in my second year of teaching. I have worked with children for five years prior to this in an after school care. I absolutely love teaching and the importance of this career. I believe that every student should be immersed in a safe, supportive, calm environment to aid them in achieving the best outcomes they possibly can!

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