Posted in Miscellaneous

Advice for Incoming Teachers

The McKay School of Education offers many benefits to its students. One of these great benefits is that I am able to be taught by professors who are former teachers and administrators. I have always been a proponent for finding out everything I can from professors to help my future career. That is why when I was thinking about what would be beneficial for me and my readers to learn about, I decided to ask a former superintendent. Accordingly, I asked my professor for my Foundations of Education Class, Professor Barry Newbold, for his advice for incoming teachers and I think you all will find it just as useful and insightful as I did.

Here is Professor Newbold’s advice for Incoming Teachers:

Being new at anything is a challenge.  Being a new teacher is overwhelming!  A teacher probably wants to be just like the teacher “next door” with lots of experience, perfect classroom management, flawless lessons and activities, the love and respect of parents and students, and the teacher who seems to “have it all together.”   Rest assured, that teacher didn’t arrive at that point her first year, and neither will you!  Here’s some advice for newcomers to the teaching profession.

  1. Keep balance and perspective in your life.  Consciously balance the demands of work, home, and church service.  If one of these gets out of balance, the rest will suffer.  This will have a negative impact on all your activities.  You will feel a strain physically, emotionally and spiritually. Never-ending work for school will not make you the teacher you hope to become.
  2. Set limits for yourself.  The first year or two of teaching it may seem easy to justify getting to work early, staying late, working weekends and holidays, and skipping events with family and friends.  While some of this non-stop work may be necessary, a steady diet will drive you out of the profession.   You will simply “burn-out.” Don’t sacrifice activities that will rejuvenate you mentally, spiritually, and physically because you feel overwhelmed with the demands of school.  Be driven and deliberate, but within limits.
  3. Eat the “elephant” of being a new teacher a few small bites as a time.   Plan for the year, prepare for the month, focus your energy on the week.  That will make things manageable.  Be patient with yourself.
  4. Let others help you.  Some may think that doing things on your own shows strength and determination.  Well it does to some extent, but why not be open to letting others, i.e. other teachers, family members, and friends help you?  Many hands make light(er) work.
  5. Make Sunday your day of rest from schoolwork.  Resist the temptation to give in and do this or that for the next school week.  My personal experience is that if you focus on principles of faith, testimony, and service on Sunday, the Lord will magnify you during the week to accomplish what is necessary.
  6. Keep a statement ,written by you, in your possession that articulates why you want to be a teacher.  When things bog you down and seem to be overwhelming, take a few quiet minutes alone and re-read it.  Pray for added strength to be that person, then go back to work.

Being the great teacher you want to be is a place to which you will never completely arrive.   You’ll always feel you can do better, can reach out more to a challenging student, can improve a lesson, or need more time to prepare.  None of that changes over the lifetime of a teacher.  But I promise that if you do all you can reasonably do and attend to matters of perspective, balance, and faith your career as a teacher will be richly rewarding and simply spectacular!”

I just loved hearing this advice from someone who has been a teacher and an administrator and really knows what lies ahead for all of us future teachers. We can all learn from the experience of others so that we can avoid at least some of the obstacles that lie ahead. Thank you Professor Newbold for your wonderful advice!

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