So you’re a new teacher… You have embarked on an exciting adventure. I’ve always said that teaching is the privilege of shaping a young life – and this is the privilege that has been given to you. I’m often asked ‘How can I succeed as a beginning teacher?’ I think it is a combination of passion and growth, both personally and professionally. Beginning teachers know how to remain passionate and get better at what they do. They are open to learning new things and are committed to doing that well.
Here’s the first 7 (of fourteen) key principles to help guide you as a new teacher.
1. Do more than what is required
Be a teacher who delivers more than what is asked and whose commitment to excellence is shown in the way you teach and behave. Adopt this thinking into every part of your teaching day. Do more than what is required. Ask yourself this question: What little bit extra could I do that would go beyond expectations?
2. Show initiative
The definition of initiative: do things without being asked. Don’t wait to be asked. Use your eyes and take charge. Often new teachers are reluctant to act because they are afraid that they might make a mistake. Don’t worry about that! Make a decision and act accordingly, and if you make a mistake, learn from it!
3. Make an effort to build a relationship with the principal
Be a teacher who adds value to the life of the school by building a strong working relationship with the school principal. Keep the principal ‘in the loop’ about what is happening in your classroom and what is happening around the school. Don’t be an unknown person who slips in and out of the school.
4. Get to know all the staff members
Be a beginning teacher who quickly makes an impact on the existing staff members. Find ways to meet them and get to know them. A great tip is to jot down their names and write down something that will aid you in remembering names, such as a distinguishing feature or conversation or the place where you met them.
5. Appreciate the administration staff too
Learn the names of the office or administration staff. Say hello and goodbye to them. And always say thank you! Work on developing a good relationship with them, as they are often the ones you will need to go to for supplies, for payroll questions, plus a host of other matters.
6. Admit and learn from your mistakes
Effective teachers don’t avoid failure; they learn to handle it successfully. Often we focus all our efforts on not failing rather than on succeeding. Teaching requires us to try new approaches, learn new things, and turn each opportunity, whether successful or not, into a learning experience.
7. Take care of yourself
Remember to look after yourself and be aware of your physical and mental condition. If possible, have someone you can talk to about your teaching experiences. Let a mentor encourage and support you as you learn and grow as a teacher. Be accountable to someone for your physical health and fitness. The better your physical shape, the more energy you will have, and the more effective you will be each day.
These principles will help you succeed as a beginning teacher. This week, choose one specific one to focus on and notice how your awareness and effectiveness increases.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly, enjoy the moments.
P.S. Have you checked out my Beginning Teachers Starter Pack? It’s on special for the next 2 weeks. Save $50! Use the code ‘newteacher2014’.