If we're being totally honest, society definitely takes teachers for granted. With the below-average pay and constant screaming parents, it's completely clear that teachers teach because it's what they love to do. So here are some teachers giving advice to those new in the field.
u/CharlieTheParakeet asked: Teachers of Reddit, what tips would you give to a new teacher starting out?
Put as much money away as you can. The burnout is real.
Don't have rules in your class that you don't need. My students can sharpen pencils, get kleenex, etc whenever they need. Of course, depends on the age (I teach 6th).
Remember they are kids. They're not in prison, their bodies are on all sorts of bathroom schedules, and whether or not they like being in school can be affected to a great degree by how you treat them.
That's a good method.Giphy
My first year, I was kind of all over the place with my lesson planning. Which is natural because as a first year teacher you have to start from scratch on everything. To avoid erratic teaching: Start every new topic by designing the test/essay/final assignment. That way you know what you need to cover in class and you know what you want the kids to learn.
The hand sanitizer bit is so true.
Classroom management is more important than any lesson. Be strict but not mean. If you yell at a class, you've lost. Yelling doesnt give you as much control as you may think. For many kids, it does the opposite. Build relationships and be consistent.
Also, young kids are gross.....bring hand sanitizer.
The main reason why many aren't teachers....
So I'm only a second year teacher myself. But I found that going in early is more productive than staying late. I get more done in the morning, and the copier is more likely to be free in the morning than later in the day.
Seek out a trusted colleague to share ideas and commiserate with. This should be a person who won't judge you, but will be honest with you, and accepts your honesty in return. It's good to have someone to bounce ideas off of, but who will support you when you need it.
Be on good terms with support staff. Treat them like people, openly support them with your colleagues, and teach your students to respect them as well.
Join your union. If you don't like your union, get involved and make it better. Your paycheck and working conditions will improve.
If you don't have pretty good emotional intelligence, teaching may not be the job for you. Knowing how hard to push a kid and when to stop pushing and when a kid is joking vs being actually defiant, etc is crucial.
How firm and blunt you need to be will be completely different between your autistic student who doesn't understand subtlety, and your trauma-background kid who goes into flight/flight/freeze with your tone of voice. I've seen many teachers over the years who have no realization that they are the escalating factor in the room.
A big no-no.
Don't take things personally. Students will misbehave, but often they're not malicious - they're either trying out to see what they can get away with, or are simply unaware that what they're doing is inappropriate. Deal with this calmly and firmly.
Recognize the limits of what you can do, especially with students who have highly complex personal or family issues. You cannot handle these cases by yourself and you should not try - instead, be aware of who else you can work with in the school (counselling staff, etc).
Truer words have never been said.Giphy
Your job is to prepare kids for the future. Not fix them.
P.S. - Didn't really put my blame on them. Just hope that they could show the ropes on how to survive in this rough reality.
Not a teacher, dated one for a long time. DO YOUR WORK ON FRIDAY NIGHT AND ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! That's one of the things my ex would regret, she would go out on Friday night and hate Sundays.
When she started doing the work on Friday and having a mini in-home date night, she enjoyed it much more.
One of the pieces of advice when I first started teaching was:
'Don't be put off if not all of your students are hitting the top grades. There's so much pressure on us teachers to have classes of A* (or whatever the top grade is in your country) students but actually not everyone is academic.'
This piece of advice was so true, I teach secondary school drama but the classes that have gone on to actually succeed and enjoy/work in the theatre are those who were only predicted a fail (D) and end up one grade higher with a pass.
Also prioritise students wellbeing and mental health. So many people are too focused on the grades but not the well-being of the students.
I've been teaching for almost 5 years and I know that these mind sets have made me such a better teacher than I was when I was training.
All teachers should be aware of this.Giphy
I'm not a teacher, but a student. Here's one thing I heard from my AP Stat teacher, which I think is something many teachers need to understand.
My teacher; There are kids that simply cannot understand some certain subjects. That's just something you need to accept.
What I also believe: There is no reason to push students out of their comfort zone when you know they can't handle it, just try to understand them. I understand that students should strive to become the best or, at least, become better, but if you push a student too hard, they lose that passion to learn, that's when I think a teacher had failed at their job.
Not every child responds the same way. Take your time, but try to get to know them and establish a positive relationship with every child. This is more important than anything content-related you teach them. (And it will make them more receptive to learning.)
It doesn't take much: a kind word, a genuine compliment, actually paying attention to who they are and what matters to them. If they feel seen they will be more present.
I taught thousands of kids, from 6th to 12th grade and I can count on one hand the number of kids I was never able to establish a positive teacher/student relationship with. A few had significant emotional problems, but I tried, at least.
The first year will be hell; just survive it. Don't let it turn you into a Nazi for year two, though.
When you decide to punish the children for whatever reason, let them know what they did wrong. Don't punish the kids and not tell them what they did wrong. They may not know what they did wrong.
Source: happened to me when I was a student.
16 year veteran here and I would suggest:
- Choose what you deeply care about. If you give too much care to everything, you will break apart and be unable to cope with the daily job.
- Don't yell. I've never yelled at a class or student and thought later, "Yeah, that made things better."
- Use personal days for days off (often called "mental health") days. It's worth it.
Work/life balance is SO important.
It's just a job. A very important, all-consuming one, but you MUST remember that - it's not worth throwing your whole life away for. Take time to gain a work/life balance.
Disclaimer: this may be impossible for the first 3-5 years you teach!