Are you wondering how to help the new teacher on your team? This blog post has tips, ideas, and advice for welcoming a first year or novice teacher to your team including how to help them handle the stress and anxiety of their first year in the classroom.
Being a new teacher, whether as a first year teacher or new to a campus, can be really tough and this might leave you wondering what you can do as an established teacher to help the new teacher to your team.
When I have asked new teachers what questions they have the ones I hear most are:
- Is the first year of teaching the hardest?
- What do I need to do to prepare for my first year of teaching?
- What should I expect my first year in the classroom?
- How do I survive as a new teacher?
- Why is the first year of teaching so hard?
- What advice would you give a first year teacher?
Reading each of these questions I begin to think of how to answer them, and while I, of course, share what I know, I can’t help but think the best people to answer each of these questions more specifically are their teaching team.
Share Specific Campus Details with New Teachers
When you have a new teacher on your team there are so many things you are able to share with them that you might not think are important, but can make a big difference.
For example, as a first year teacher, my grade level team mentor did a great job of making sure I understood what the staff expectations were at our particular campus. For example, every Wednesday afternoon was held for meetings. This meant to not make any after school commitments before 5 pm or so while other days of the week we were able to sign out early for appointments if necessary.
This was one of those little things that could have been easily forgotten, but because she told me about it from the very beginning I was able to plan ahead.
An awesome idea would be to put together a jot note of campus-specific details that will help the new teacher on your team to plan ahead and be ready for time commitments and requirements that may be more understood and not explicitly stated.
Ideas for this include:
- When are campus meetings?
- What hours are expected to be worked on Fridays?
- When is the workroom busiest?
- Are there rules for using materials or equipment such as the copier or laminator in the workroom?
- Are duties rotated?
- What are the teachers’ expectations during recess?
- What are bulletin board expectations?
- Does the team plan together?
- What kind of homework, if any, does the grade level assign?
Check in with Your New Teacher
In all likelihood, the new teacher on your team is feeling anxious and intimidated. They are probably hesitant to reach out to you so you can be supportive by reaching out to them.
Check in with the new teacher on your team early and often. If you are comfortable, share your phone number with them and as you do or think of items send them a quick text. This open line of communication will make it easier for your new team member to reach out when they need you.
Once the school year begins ask your new teammate how things are going. This little check in can mean the world to a new teacher that is feeling lost.
Be Ready to Listen and Problem-Solve
For first year teachers, there are new and challenging issues that arise in the classroom every day, and they do not always have a full toolbelt of teacher tools to deal with them.
This is where you come in! While checking in with the new teacher on your team be ready to listen and problem solve with them all about what is going on in their classroom. Often there are behaviors or academic challenges that seem simple to deal with after you have seen them a few times that are daunting in the beginning.
One of the things my mentor did my first year in the classroom was a problem solving strategy called Teachers Helping Teachers. Together, a group of three first year teachers and my mentor would talk about a challenge in one of our classrooms and then we would work together to brainstorm strategies that could be tried.
Sometimes there is nothing that can be done, but it feels better to know that veteran teachers get challenged as well and don’t have all the answers.
In the End, Be There
The most important thing you can do to support the new teacher on your team is be there. Let them know they are not alone and that teaching is hard. This can mean the world to someone who feels they are all by themselves in their struggles.
Want More Support for Your First Year Teacher?
Your first year of teaching can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you have a first year teacher on your team that could use some additional support please share our community with them. Join our Facebook community for first year teachers. We are here to support you, encourage you, and help problem solve throughout your first year in the classroom and beyond.
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