What I wish I had known as a New Teacher

Dr. William DeJean 

Did you know that I almost quit after my first year teaching? I was struggling so much that I thought teaching was something I couldn’t do. What sometimes made it worse was feeling that others had it all figured out. It was an isolating time, filled with doubt, uncertainty and a lot of hard work. I found gradual success through the support of mentors, books, professors and other colleagues. It’s one of the reasons I founded Unleash Learning and why we are launching the New Teacher Companion in February, 2019. It’s so that new teachers, mentors and their support providers have the tools, resources and networks to support early career success.

Here are 3 things I’d wish I’d known as a new teacher

  • CREAT POSITIVE RITUALS Consistent processes that are positive and life affirming (Processes for starting and closing the class; collecting or returning assignments; greeting students as they enter our classroom) help the classroom run smoothly. Establishing these positive rituals are essential.  
  • HAVE A CONSISTENT PREPARATION TIME Schedule one or two session a week that are dedicated to lesson planning and stick to it. This isn’t time to grade assignments or answer emails. Find a quiet spot at your school, close the door and focus on planning.
  • CREAT A SUCCESSFUL SEATING PLAN Many distractions happen due top where students are sitting. Some students become the ‘class clown’ or become distracted simply to show off to their friends. Over the years I’ve found that the seating plan is one of the most important components of an effective classroom. Establish your seating plan from day 1 and stick with it.  


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