10 Tips for First Year Teacher Candidates
After completing my first year in the Education program, I thought it might be helpful to impart whatever wisdom I have obtained on upcoming first year teacher candidates.
1. The way you teach at the beginning of your practicum will not be the way you teach at the end of your practicum.
You will improve so much. The first few weeks can be nerve wracking and overwhelming. You will be standing up in front of a class of students that are waiting for you to teach them something. You may not even be sure how to properly teach that lesson, or answer the questions because this is literally your first few times being an actual teacher. Remember to breathe, and not stress out as much as you will because I can guarantee you that by the end of your practicum, you will feel like the pro that you are.
2. Read. The. Curriculum.
No you cannot make your lesson plans without knowing exactly what you're teaching. Yes, even Art has expectations. Don't kid yourself.
3. Social media is not always a bad thing.
I was so against having any type of media outlet; no websites, no twitter, no instgram - nothing. Clearly as I write to you from this blog, I decided it wasn't so bad after all. Social media can be a useful tool if you use it efficiently and wisely. Twitter can be used to make great connections with other teachers, and blogs/websites are good for new teachers in need of advice and new ideas.
Other students you meet, teachers you meet- anyone can be a great connection for you to have. Don't be afraid to get out there and meet new people.
5. Support is all within your little classroom.
You may very well be with the same 30 students for your entire two years. I think it's safe to say that you will have to make friends- and you'll enjoy your time there so much more if you become close with your classmates. You are all in the same boat, and there's no one better to connect with than your fellow teacher candidates.
6. Lesson planning is harder than you think.
Write down everything on your lesson plans. This will keep you organized and keep your thoughts in place. You will know what you're doing and how you plan to go about it. Now keep in mind, if you're an elementary teacher, some days nothing will go as planned, and you will begin to question if your lessons are good. Don't do this! You're teaching kids- they have bad days and good days, and sometimes, your lessons will either run too short or too long and you begin to stress out immensely. Just remember that there are some days when your lessons will run just as planned. You will have those good days.
7. You are the teacher, not the friend.
Believe me when I say a lot of teacher candidates struggled with this. You walk into a classroom where the students already have a teacher, and you somehow need to have a level of authority over them. You may feel that one way to build a relationship with your students is by being on their level, and being their friend; the cool teacher. Don't do this. You are the teacher; you will be educating them, helping them succeed and learn, and they cannot do any of this if you act like their friend. I'm not implying that you need to be overly stern and extremely disciplined, but observe the very thin line of teacher and friend.
8. Your teacher philosophy will change, and probably become more meaningful with time.
You will be asked time and time again to write down your teacher philosophy, and most of the time, it will be a list of things you found from google. All of these aspects are compiled into something you think is your philosophy. Once you begin teaching, that will change, and I suggest you keep track of what changes, and how you really feel.
9.Use your extra time to work on your CV.
Think about your future. Two years goes by very quickly. (Although- you still need to have some fun)
10. You are in one of the most fulfilling professions.
Being a teacher is an amazing career choice, and don't ever feel differently about that.
10.5 Coffee helps. Always.
**Be sure to check out VoiceEd on twitter for my upcoming podcast next Tuesday**