I'm getting ready to start my 3rd year of teaching and I've definitely learned a few things along the way, especially this last year. So I'm linking up with Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls for her linky to share some advice with first year teachers.
Set your rules and procedures and STICK to them: Make sure to follow through because as soon as you don't with one, then they all try to see if they can push you or what they can get away with. There's also always that kid that thinks they're better then the rules. For example, this year my co-teacher and I had the kids use hand signals to let us know when they needed to use the bathroom or get a drink or a tissue, etc. that way they didn't interrupt us with asking if they could do one of those things. We would see the hand signal and nod to them without ever having to stop teaching; however, we had one student who would constantly come up to use and ask to do these things instead of using the hand signal and we constantly had to send him back to his desk and remind him of the correct way to ask.
Get to know your colleagues: Chances are you have a colleague or two that is a veteran teacher, get to know them, ask them how they do something, maybe it'll work for you too. There's no sense in reinventing the wheel if someone is pedaling smoothly down the road. It may not work for you but tweak it for you and your kids.
Communicate with parents: Keep your parents up-to-date on what's happening in the class, whether it be with a newsletter or by keeping your website up-to-date. Giving your parents some tips & tricks for that tricky new math concept or a few books/series that seem to be a hit in the classroom, lets your parents know that you want them to be involved with their child's education and extended the classroom to the home.
Don't sweat the small stuff: In the world of education things are constantly changing, we all know this, and many times changes are happening on a state level and there's nothing that you can do about it. Just go with the flow and try your best. The past few years we've had a lot of changes with curriculum and observations, but everyone was going through it and there was nothing you could do about it, so try your best and give your kids all they deserve. There's no point in upsetting yourself and losing focus on what's most important...your kiddos.
Don't worry about what others are doing: Yes, get to know your colleagues and share resources, they might have something that works for you, BUT don't worry about how far they are in the curriculum guide or that their students are understanding the concept with flying colors and yours are still struggling. All classes are different, you know your kids best, and what works for them. Yes you can't get too far behind with the curriculum, but remember you can revisit concepts later. Do what works for you and your kids.
If it's not working, don't be afraid to change it: Everything you do might not work, if it isn't working don't be afraid to change it. Try to make big changes, if they need to be made, at natural stopping or changing points; the start of a new semester/tri-mester, marking period/etc. or after returning from a break. Kids are resilient and they will adapt to a new way of doing things.
I hope you found some of these tips useful and you have a great first year. Welcome to the world of teaching. Be sure to visit the other bloggers who have linked up!!!