Being a new teacher is hard. And often, a lot of the advice they get comes from veteran educators who are far removed from those first few years in the classroom.
So we asked two second-year teachers—Shaniqua McShan and Joelle Barreau, both teachers at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington—to reflect on what they learned during their first year in the classroom. We also asked educators on Twitter for their advice for new teachers.
McShan and Barreau agreed to read some of those tweets—and share their own thoughts—in a video. They discussed classroom management, setting expectations, finding a support group, and creating a healthy work-life balance. Along the way, they laughed and cracked jokes.
“It’s very easy to come into a new school or even into a new profession and believe you have to perfect it off the bat,” Barreau said. “Teaching is something that you learn and do better by year.”
“As a first-year teacher, you have to understand, you’re doing things for the first time in a classroom. When you do something for the first time, it takes so much time. It just does,” McShan said. “You have to learn to say, I’m going home. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are not your best teacher.”
Looking for more advice? Here are some more tweets:
Teach from the heart. Your students will know whether you are authentic or fake. Be the real you ❤️ #AdviceforNewTeachers
-- Christina Clark (@cclark421) August 1, 2017
My #AdviceforNewTeachers is to write everything down. Your insights, failures, thoughts, fears, and hopes. Journal, reflect often and deeply
-- Chip Mc Neal (@oaklandartsman) July 31, 2017
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay away from the teacher’s lounge (trust me), relax on the weekends. Find a mentor #AdviceforNewTeachers
-- Valarie Johnson (@MrsJSC) July 31, 2017
Don’t accept “idk”. Find something they do know and build a bridge from there. Ask “why?” and “how?”#AdviceforNewTeachers
-- Kawanna (@iseagle825) July 30, 2017
Be kind and compassionate. You are in the power position; you can use that for good or ill. Choose wisely. #AdviceforNewTeachers
-- Lisa Everett (@lisaeverett1234) July 30, 2017
There will be a lot you cannot control in the world of education. But you have complete control of your enthusiasm. #AdviceforNewTeachers
-- Craig Smith (@CSmithGoBlue) July 29, 2017
This is only a sampling of the advice that poured in on Twitter, so if you’re looking for more advice or inspiration—no matter how long you’ve been teaching—scroll through the hashtag #AdviceforNewTeachers.
And check out Education Week Teacher’s special report on the challenges new teachers face and the ways that schools and colleagues can support them: Helping New Teachers Thrive.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.