I’ve seen and heard a lot of stress from other first year teachers in these first ew months of the school year. Feeling like a failure, feeling overwhelmed, and just not feeling good enough are common occurrences (been there, done that). Thanks to my professional twitter network and the research-informed community, I’ve identified a few ways to make the transition to teacher of record much more manageable without sacrificing my sanity or students’ learning, and I hope that from one new teacher to another, my gain is yours, too.
1. Have firm expectations, reasons for them, and stick to it.
You know the whole “make rules with your kids” thing we talk about in teacher prep? Scratch that. Despite what people will tell you, it’s okay to believe that you’re the teacher and in charge– because you are! Structure is needed to ensure a learning environment and a healthy community. If you have a reason for your rules, the students will understand and adapt. Give kids some credit (and read this from Tom Sherrington on the power of expectations, Eric Kalenze’s book on improving schools from the bottom-up, and Bill Wilkinson’s piece on starting with a new class).