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Advice for New Teachers: Making the Most of Your First Year and Avoiding Teacher Burnout

Teaching ranks among the most rewarding careers you can enter, but it’s also one of the most challenging. Educators face complex situations every day that test their skills and experience. That’s why listening to advice is an important part of the job, especially for new teachers in their first year in the classroom.

The underlying theme of all advice for new teachers is this: You don’t have to go it alone. Building a network of fellow teachers who you can turn to for support is key to both success in the classroom and avoiding teacher burnout. So is seeking out professional development courses that focus on mentoring new teachers and allow you the opportunity to meet teachers from across the nation.

Seeking help and consulting with other teachers is one of the main pieces of advice for new teachers from Rob Carey, director of independent studies for Fresno Pacific University. “Ask questions,” Carey said when asked about advice for new teachers. “Teachers enjoy sharing advice and tips.”

Tips for First-Year Teachers

Every profession has stress. But nothing quite matches the challenge and rewards of standing in front of a room of students every day. It requires creating educational lesson plans and presenting them in an engaging way for students.

Getting advice on these and other situations can help those entering the teaching profession make an easier transition into the classroom. Consulting peers also helps you learn what to expect. All these steps help avoid teacher burnout and better connect with your students.

Find a Mentor

Many school districts understand the importance of first-year teaching and assign all new classroom teachers a mentor. However, even if they do not, Carey said that should not stop teachers from finding a mentor teacher anyway. “If the administration does not assign a mentor, find a seasoned teacher who is willing to mentor you, formally or informally,” he said. “This is someone you will meet with at least once a week to develop a trusting relationship and feel open to discuss what is working and what is not working in the classroom.”

Avoid Teacher Burnout

Teacher burnout is an “international epidemic,” according to Dr. Jenny Grant Rankin, writing for Psychology Today. For example, 91% of teachers in the United Kingdom suffered from stress in the past two years and 74% experienced anxiety. In the United States, 15% of all teachers, about a half-million, quit the profession each year.

Carey said finding a work/life balance is key for first-year teachers in avoiding burnout.

“Do not overcommit your first years to avoid burnout,” he said. “Keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on teaching well, your connection with students, your own physical, mental and emotional health. There will be time later for other ambitions.”

You can also take professional development courses designed to address ways of avoiding teacher burnout. 

Stay Consistent with All Students

Staying consistent with students goes a long way toward building a positive classroom environment. This is another area where nurturing professional relationships can help. To see how experienced teachers handle classrooms, new teachers can spend time observing them. Later, they can meet and discuss why the veteran teacher approached specific situations the way they did.

Seek Professional Development

Professional development credits can prepare you for the challenges of modern classrooms.

Carey said the specific courses new teachers require will depend on their teaching discipline. However, he said the following courses offered by FPU are “very general courses that hit almost everyone.” All can be found by searching through educator courses offered by FPU.

Following are several examples:

In behavior management: Discipline for Today’s Classroom (EDUC-900); Classroom Restorage Discipline (EDUC-915N); Manage Students Without Coercion EDUC-919; Positive Discipline in the Classroom (EDUC-926).

Integration education courses: Engaging All Students Through Cooperative Learning (EDU-900); Instructional Strategies to Inspire Learning (EDU- 924); Developing Superstar Students (EDU- 937); Teach Like a Pirate (EDU-938); Teach Like Finland (EDU- 939); Shake Up Learning (EDU- 946); Helping Children Succeed (EDU- 948).

Intro Technology courses: PowerPoint: Powerful Presentations (TEC- 922); Introduction to Computers for Teachers (TEC-923); Computers in the Classroom (TEC- 938); Teaching and Learning Online (TEC- 948N); Google Drive for Educators (TEC- 959).

Teaching may be one of the most challenging and rewarding career paths. By seeking out advice, growing a trusted network and taking professional development courses from Fresno Pacific University you’ll be ready for a long career.

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