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Veteran Advice for the New Elementary Teacher

By Ryan Crawley,

24 Jan 2020

There is nothing quite like graduating with a degree in education after nearly five years of college and finally entering into your very first classroom as a fully qualified teacher.

Everything that you learned in all of your courses can now be put to use.

The day you dreamt about for all of those years is finally here! However, before you start penciling yourself in as a teacher at your new school for the next 25 to 30 years, there are some things you need to realize.

For instance, nearly 50 percent of all teachers leave the profession during their first five years of teaching.

I believe this number can be lowered significantly if these fresh-faced educators knew what they were getting themselves into in the first place.

For all of those in college wrapping up on their degree in teaching and for the educators that are in their first couple of years in the classroom, here is some veteran advice that I feel it is my duty to impart to you.

Try Your Best to Keep Your Enthusiasm for the Profession Unfortunately for many educators, they enter into the profession with the idea they are going to change the world and make a huge impact in their students’ lives and after a couple of years, they have admitted defeat and just want to coast out the rest of their years without too much hassle.

If you feel like you are getting beat down every day and can’t find the silver lining in the things you are doing in the classroom, it will be a very long time until retirement.

Keep your enthusiasm as best as you can! If you are excited about being in the classroom, your students will be as well.

Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With Remember when we were all younger and our parents would tell us not to hang out with certain kids because they were nothing but trouble? After all, Ward and June Cleaver would always tell Wally not to hang out with Eddie Haskell so much.

As an adult, we face the same problem but we don’t have our parents in our ear every day.

If you tend to spend your time listening to negative teachers gripe about every little thing that happens at school, you are going to turn into one of these pessimistic educators.

If you hang out with the positive teachers that are celebrating minor victories that are happening in the classroom, you will keep that positivity with you everywhere you go.

Administration Will Not Always Have Your Back Usually, when you are first hired, an administrator will meet with you and tell you to come to them with any of your problems.

This must be something they are forced to say as it is in their administrator handbook or something.

What they really mean to tell you is for you to handle everything in the classroom the best you can and only come to them if something major is concerning you.

If you come to them too often, they will believe that you do not know how to do your job.

You are better off asking advice from veteran educators you trust instead of from an administrator.

Skip the Teachers’ Lounge If You Can I always ate my lunch in my classroom as I tried to get all of my work completed so I wouldn’t have anything left to take home at the end of the day.

Every now and then, I would eat lunch with a good friend of mine that also works at the school in the privacy of one of our classrooms.

I am telling you this so you realize that you can skip the whole teachers’ lounge and the atmosphere that accompanies it.

Who wants to spend their time listening to teachers complain? My lunch break was only about 20 minutes long and I didn’t want to waste any of it listening to heartbreak.

“Be Nice… Until It Is Time to Not Be Nice” Of course, the above is a quote said by Patrick Swayze’s character in the film Road House, but it could definitely apply to handling parents of your students.

Parents used to work with their child’s teacher in an effort to improve their kid’s academics or behavior.

However, nowadays, it seems like the parents would rather send off angry emails if you call into question the child’s behavior or doubt whether they are working on their studies at home.

It can be difficult being pleasant to a parent that is always coming at you like you just cut them off in traffic.

Still, try your best.

But don’t ever let them walk all over you.

You are in the position of power and if they don’t like it, they can always talk to administration.

Just remember that if they are acting this way with you, then there is a very good chance they have been doing this to other teachers as well.

When it comes down to it, once you enter into the teaching profession, don’t be a follower.

Speak your mind when you can and try to keep a smile on your face for your students.

Many of them are coming from homes where their parent-figure may not exactly be role model material.

You could be the teacher that makes that positive impact on their lives and it may not even happen through academics, but rather on how you taught them to become a responsible adult.

If you ever feel like leaving the profession, try and remember your successes and make your choice carefully.


1- New teacher advice - All the advice you will ever hear as a new teacher

2- How to survive as a newly qualified teacher

3- How to avoid teacher burnout

4- Running a class trip: A practical guide for those new to the role