New Teacher Information

SCEA’s 10 Tips for Surviving Your First Year

Ask Questions

As a first year teacher, or someone new to our district, you are not expected to know everything.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, input or feedback.  Our district strongly believes in collaboration.  Talk to colleagues, administrators and your association if you need help.

Experienced teachers have all gone through a first year, so use your colleagues’ hard-earned wisdom to your benefit.  Cultivate relationships with one or two veteran teachers who can provide support and answer all sorts of questions.

Know your students

We all know how important it is for you to know your kids from an instructional standpoint.  However it’s the bonds that we form with our kids that makes a difference and has impact on in student’s lives.  Talk to them.  Make sure you know what motivates them, what they need and what makes them who they are.  There’s a reason this job is so rewarding.  It’s the bond we make with students that make this happen.

Make sure your students know that you believe in two-way communication and you will always be there to listen to them and support them.

Know your contract

The contract governs everything about your day in the schools.  From you work hours, to your pay, to your workload, it’s all in the contract.  Make sure you know it and understand what’s in it.  If you need help, please talk to your building senator.

Know your evaluation plan

As a non-tenured teacher, you will be observed at least three times by your evaluator.  In addition, most educators will have student growth measures included as part of their evaluation beginning in 2016-17.  For more information, please see District 303 Licensed Educator Evaluation Plan.

Good communication is essential

Effective communication is essential year-round.  During the first weeks of school it is important to set up strong lines of communication. As your student load increases, so does your parent load. Depending on the number of students you have, introduce yourself to parents with a phone call, email, or send a welcome letter home during the first few weeks of school.

Make good choices on social/electronic media

It is imperative that you understand the district’s policy on social media.  For more information please read Social Media Dos and Don’ts.

Don’t spend a ton of your own money on supplies to start the year

It can be very tempting to go out and try to completely stock your classroom with a library, supplies, and other instructional materials.  Wait before buying.  Talk to your colleagues about what you will need and what is already supplied.  Remember it takes time and experience to build up libraries, labs, centers, etc.  Don’t think it has to be established from the first day your students walk in the door.  You will also be able to capture savings by purchasing through the school, including tax-exempt opportunities.

Preview any material you show, read, or present in class

Any time you use a material from outside the district’s curriculum in class, you must make sure you have thoroughly previewed the material.  Even if something is labeled as “School version” or “Education Version”, you need to make sure that you completely understand all of the content you are using and that it is appropriate for school.

Remember that it’s ok to make mistakes

It’s important to always be learning, trying new things and pushing ourselves to become better teachers.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  We’re all human.  Remember that a learning experience for you can just as well be a learning experience for your students.

Pace yourself/Take time for you

Teaching can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel like you’re in over your head.  Make sure you keep things in perspective and don’t let the pressure get to you.  Take time for you.  Take time do things you enjoy and get your mind off teaching for a bit.

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