The first day of classes can be stressful for students. It is hard to know ahead of time what new teachers and classes will be like, and there are all of the worries that a new school year brings. A new teacher may experience many of the same feelings, as he is put in the position of teaching new classes, meeting new people, and trying to make a good impression on both his students and on the other teachers and administrators. Being a new teacher can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several ways to make sure a new career in teaching starts off on the right foot.
A new teacher should start the year off strong, with strict rules and consequences in place. Alternatively, have the students help make the rules and consequences, and then display them in an easy to find area of the classroom. After a month or so, it is okay to lighten up some, but students need to know that the teacher is in control, and knows what she is doing. Being too lenient during the first few weeks will lead the students to think that they can control or manipulate their teacher.
Encourage a lot of class participation. Get students interested and involved in the discussion. One of the best ways to do this is to randomly call on students for their thoughts on what is being taught. This not only gets students involved, but also keeps them paying attention, in case they are the next student to be called on. This is also a great way for new teachers to learn the names of their students.
Younger students tend to learn best when given plenty of opportunities for hands-on involvement, but older students benefit from this, too. In-class projects should encourage students to work together in groups and to discuss the material being covered in class. Play-acting is another help students process information, while having the added benefit of keeping students interested. For example, older history students might enjoy a debate between the North and South during the Civil War, or trying to work out their own version of a post-World War Two treaty, dividing power and land while working on a way to prevent it from happening again.
It is important for a new teacher to learn how to work with his or her own strengths, as well as the strengths of his or her students. Take advantage of any artistic skills, the ability to do persuasive speaking, or even the love of a good debate. If the teacher is really into what and how he or she is teaching, the students are more likely to stay interested.
Have specific goals for every week, month, quarter, semester, and year. This allows both the teacher and the students to see how topics will relate, and keeps everyone on track. At the same time, it is also important to stay flexible. Things will come up to put the class behind where they should be. The school may close for a day or two, or the students may want to spend extra time on a topic.
Teaching is a challenging profession, but with a little preparation and a lot of organization, a new teacher can get a smooth start to both a new year and a new career. It will take a while to get used to teaching, but there will be many tips and tricks that new teachers will discover along the way. Within a few months, even the newest teachers will figure out a system that works best for them, and can settle into a groove for the remainder of the school year.