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April 19, 2021

Dear New Teacher…

You’ve come to the right place. All of us at Teaching Channel are so excited for you to begin this amazing journey. We know that while teaching will be exhilarating, it will also be challenging. To help you stay both grounded and inspired, we’ve asked some of our Tch Laureates to send you off on your journey with some words of wisdom.

Read them. Take their words in. Print them out and put them on your desk, in your car, or somewhere in your home — your fridge, the front door, the mirror — so you can be inspired, uplifted, and comforted each day, knowing that you’re not alone.

And if you haven’t seen our Back to School Starter Packs — check them out. These useful and timely checklists and resources were created and curated with teachers like you in mind. Use them to help you plan, mark your growth, and reflect on your practice all year long.

We hope you have a wonderful year.

— Your Friends at Teaching Channel

Be courageous. There will be times when you’ll be put into situations where your expertise will be important, but your courage will be absolutely vital. Make sure that nothing comes between what you know is right for students and what you actually do for students. Parents send their children into your classroom every day with the hope of welcoming back a child who is a little brighter and a little better because they’ve spent time with you. You’re the holder of that hope and the keeper of that promise. It’s your courage that will enable the very best things possible for the children you teach.”

— Joshua Parker

VIDEO: New Teacher Survival Guide: Classroom Management

“Jennifer Gonzalez said it best in her gorgeous piece, Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New TeachersSurround yourself with good people — people who fill you up, have your back, and help you reflect. There will be times when a lesson doesn’t work, when a student is hard to reach, or when your classroom becomes unruly. There will be times when you’ll be filled with so much joy that you can’t bear to hold it in, and times when you can’t wait for tomorrow. In either case, you’ll need your marigolds because teaching takes practice, constant reflection, and someone to remind you that you’re awesome and that your students are special. I still don’t know how I’d get by without my marigolds.”

— Heather Van Benthuysen

VIDEO: New Teacher Survival Guide: Planning

“On your first day with students, be you. Students have an amazing sense of what’s real and they want you to be genuine. They want to know that you’re scared and that you’re worried people won’t like you — just like they are. You chose this profession for the right reasons. Show them the excitement resonating in your soul. You’ll discover it’s as contagious as their germs your first year. If you show them the real you, they’ll learn to love you. Be as patient with them as you want them to be with you. Know that you’re growing through this period together. Listen to them, care for them, and understand the amazing gift that you’ve been given and that you give to others.”

— Meg Richard

VIDEO: New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction

“The first years of your teaching career can be overwhelming, to say the least. Learning how to manage a classroom, write engaging lesson plans, make connections with students and their families, and find time to use the bathroom when you need to can all be difficult to juggle. And while I don’t want to add another thing to your plate, I do want to remind you to take some time for yourself. It may sound hard to do, but carving out just 30 minutes a few times a week to do something that makes your soul sing will help you become a happier person and a better teacher. Whether you’re spending time with friends and family, exercising, enjoying a hobby, making a meal, seeing a movie, or something else, finding time away from the all-consuming world of teaching will help you stay grounded in your first few years.”

— Geneviève DeBose Akinnagbe

VIDEO: New Teacher Survival Guide: The Parent-Teacher Conference 

“What’s ahead is a special kind of ‘first,’ because it’s going to be punctuated by all the firsts. The first time students walk into your classroom, the first time you see that ‘ah-ha’ moment, the first time you call a parent, the first time you teach all those units, the first time you realize all you can do on Friday afternoon is crawl home and lay on the couch, the first time you say goodbye. Don’t be afraid of these firsts or wish them away. Enjoy them, write them down, celebrate the smallest victories, and don’t be ashamed of the struggles. No one does this work alone. Find your tribe of teachers, whether they’re in your hallway or on Twitter. Laugh every day. Practice empathy with everyone. Teach who you are.”

— Sarah Brown Wessling

Ready to learn more about being a new teacher? Start by exploring our New Teacher Survival Guide. Have your own questions you’d like to ask? Make sure to check out our Q&A.


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