Teaching

The Best Advice for New Teachers, in 5 Words or Less

By Hayley Hardison — August 18, 2021 1 min read
Empty desks in a dark classrooom
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Cue the early-morning alarms —it’s that time of year again.

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread rapidly across the country, many things about the first day of school feel different. But one thing that isn’t changing: Teachers just entering the profession are looking for advice on how to find their footing.

We put a call out on Twitter for experienced educators to share their best tips for new teachers, in five words or less. Here’s what they said.

Foster relationships with students

Many people responding pointed to the importance of building strong relationships with students—and how critical that is for learning.

Relationships matter more than anything.
Don't stop loving your students.
Make them believe they can.
Enjoy your students, be yourself.
Know your students as individuals.
Connect with students before curriculum.
Students learn when you care.

Mentors matter

In May, we spoke with experienced teachers, former mentees, and current mentors to uncover key components of mentorships that effectively give new teachers a solid foundation in their early careers. Here, they told us what’s worked for them and what didn’t.

Many of those who responded on Twitter spoke to the need for mentorship as well.

Find teammates that inspire you.
Find a mentor to trust.
Always ask for help
Get a mentor right away

Keep classrooms in line and lessons on track

Respondents also shared tips for behavior management and lesson planning.

Don't reinvent the wheel!
Classroom procedures are top priority!
Direct, explicit instruction works best.
Monitor and adjust!
Start smiling on day one.

Practice self-care

Self-care is frequently prescribed to protect against burnout in any profession. “I think people are starting to recognize that teachers’ well-being is really critical to their ability to perform their jobs well,” Patricia Jennings, a professor of education at the University of Virginia and an expert in teacher stress, told EdWeek reporter Madeline Will recently.

Protect your mental health/wellbeing
Be patient with yourself, too.
Get the vaccine!
Invest in yourself.

Remember who you are

Who are you when the workday begins? What about when it ends? Some respondents on Twitter advised new teachers to reflect on their identities beyond the job—and to stay true to them.

Have an identity beyond work.
Be authentic. Be yourself.
Never forget why you began
Teachers are still students

Establish a work-life balance

In July of 2020, we wrote about how remote teachers could craft a better work-life balance when there’s “no barrier between the classroom and the living room.” Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for any setting, teachers on Twitter agreed.

Don’t forget Happy Hour times.
Never. Take. Work. Home.
Leave no later than 6pm
June, July, August.
It is all about balance!

Remember to be kind to yourself

Lastly, respondents shared advice that new teachers have likely heard before—but it’s worth remembering when times get tough.

Give yourself grace every day.
Embrace the chaos. Enjoy it.
You can make a difference.
The first version isn't perfect.
Embrace not knowing everything.
You’ll get better.

Still in search of more teaching advice? We’ve got you covered. This blog post from Education Week Opinion contributor Larry Ferlazzo houses 10 years’ worth of advice for new teachers to follow.

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion 3 Steps Teachers Can Take to Value Students’ Marginalized Identities
Lower-income students have strengths that often go unrecognized. Here’s how to structure lesson plans that capitalize on them.
David M. Silverman
3 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Teaching Opinion Christopher Emdin, Gholdy Muhammad, and More Education Authors Offer Insights to the Field
Want to know about culturally responsive teaching? Teaching kids to thrive? Scores of interviews highlight those topics and more.
7 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Some Students Are Routinely Denied Challenging Work. The Pandemic Made That Worse
An increase in the use of lower-level reading passages threatens to exacerbate academic gaps.
4 min read
Rear view of elementary age students seated at their desks facing mid 40s Black teacher standing at chalkboard with focus on foreground boys.
E+/Getty
Teaching The Back-to-School Traditions Teachers Swear By
Inspirational films, day-one activities, time capsules, and oodles of coffee are among the ideas educators shared with us.
1 min read
Young students running to the school building for classes.
E+/Getty