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We Asked our Alumni Educators to Share Advice with First Year Teachers. Here’s What They Said.

Helpful tips for teachers everywhere.

By Sara-Kay Mooney

August 19, 2021

A cup of color pencils

Experiential wisdom is the best sort to lean into when embarking on a new endeavor. We have nearly 2,000 alums living and working across North Carolina, so we asked a few of them to give advice to all the first year teachers getting ready to start their first day of school. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

Take your sick days. Use them for mental health days. It’s part of your benefits package. 

Take a breath and remind yourself of your ‘why’ each day.

Be yourself and listen to your kids. They deserve to know you and feel known by you!

Model SEL for our kiddos. For example: “I’m frustrated/unsure/etc so I’m going to [healthy strategy].”

Classroom management is key. 

Get sleep! Kids won’t learn anything from a sleep-deprived teacher. 

Always take a moment to breathe. 

Don’t get caught up in a fancy classroom management plan. Relationships are key. 

Focus on building relationships with kids and families. This can make or break your year!

Study your content!!! If you don’t know it, you can’t teach it. 

Be flexible and roll with the changes and challenges as they come.

Find a good therapist. If you’re sick, take the day off. Ask for help when you need it. 

Accept that your to-do list will never be finished, and prioritize things by due date. 

Make friends with veteran teachers. 

Take a deep breath and unclench your jaw / drop your shoulders. 

Ask your peers for advice and seek information from a variety of sources. 

Give yourself the same grace and compassion you give your students. 

Take a deep breath. You will not get everything done, so take time to go outside and soak up the sun.