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With the growing demand for educators, it’s evident that being a teacher is worth it for several reasons. The career path offers room for personal and professional growth while positively impacting future generations.

If you’re starting your first year of teaching with apprehension and excitement, trust that you’re not alone. Worry is common among incoming and veteran teachers alike. From finding and refining your teaching style to sustaining your students’ engagement and classroom management, there’s plenty to consider before introducing yourself to your pupils as their new teacher.

Follow our advice for first-year teachers and watch your first year of teaching unfold with ease and exhilaration.

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Preparing for Your First Year

Experiencing your first school year comes down to thorough preparation well before the first school bell tolls. In addition to outlining your intentions before school starts, consider these first-year teacher tips:

#1. Establish Clear Expectations

Research indicates that defining expectations is one of the most powerful ways to prompt student achievement—and the earlier you institute your objectives as a new teacher, the better.1

On the first day of the school year, sketch out the rules of your classroom and your primary routines. Children thrive on structure and consistency, and there are few better ways to provide them with this than explicit boundaries.

Better yet? Create a visual reminder that reinforces your expectations: Visual aids increase retention.2

#2. Organize for Efficiency

The fast pace of school days demands organization and efficiency. To this end, a first-year teacher must:

  • Label physical supplies – Paper clips, pencils, staples—everything should have its own place in your classroom. Determine the most logical spots for your supplies and affix labels for easy access (and returns).
  • Organize digital files – The “best” way to organize your digital files is subjective, but a system should be in place before you hit the ground running. Consider creating a separate file for each student, as well as teaching files (i.e., lesson plans, exams, and presentations).3

Even the most organized teachers are prone to disorganization. Sidestep this by dedicating an hour per week to tidying up your classroom, inbox, and desktop (digital and literal).

Building Strong Relationships

Isolation may be normal among first-year teachers, but it doesn’t have to be:

#3. Connect with Colleagues

A strong support network is essential to job satisfaction, but it may seem challenging when your colleagues have years of camaraderie behind them. Counter this by: 

  • Introducing yourself
  • Emphasizing your availability if your colleagues need assistance
  • Participating in off-campus activities
  • Creating a collaborative bulletin board or shared document to share teaching tips and upcoming events
  • Finding a peer teacher/mentor

This shouldn’t be restricted to your fellow teachers, either. Custodians, librarians, school secretaries—all are part of the fabric of your institution and vital to your larger network.

#4. Engage with Students and Parents

Academic success partly hinges on paying individual attention to student and parent involvement.4 Accomplish this by:

  • Conducting one-on-ones with students – Sitting down with each of your students will give you both a chance to establish trust and security. Inquire about their hobbies, favorite subjects, and ideal way of learning—and add it to their files.
  • Communicating openly with parents – Effective communication is key to all relationships, including parent-teacher associations. Varying communication options for parents—text, email, calls, conferences—ensure that even the busiest caregiver stays apprised of their child’s progress, while apps like Remind may help parents keep on top of their children’s schedules.

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Embracing the Challenges

Regarding the quality of their lives, teachers rank the highest, second only to physicians—if ever there’s a measure of career satisfaction.5 But teaching isn’t without challenges:6

#5. Navigating Administrative and Curriculum Demands

When managing administrative concerns, communication is, once again, fundamental. These tips for new teachers may come in handy:7

  • Ask for assistance when needed
  • Request in-person meetings to address larger issues
  • Emphasize the collaborative nature of schools in discussions

Another common challenge? Meeting curriculum demands. Building an educational blueprint before school commences and making adjustments as needed are two of the most effective ways to meet them.

#6. Manage Time Effectively

Without time management, you may find yourself grading papers long into the night or spending your weekends handling classroom tasks (and self-care is imperative to prevent teacher burnout). With this in mind:8

  • Utilize blocks of empty time (like recesses) judiciously. Update your files, organize your desktop, and start on the next day’s lesson plan—all can help you avoid taking a lot of work home.
  • “Batch” your work to prevent the exhaustion that comes with cognitive switching, such as grouping writing student responses with lesson planning, and performing basic tasks (like making copies) in one chunk.

Utilizing Technology and Resources

Technology and additional resources can help new teachers hone their skills throughout their first year and beyond.

#7. Digital Tools for Classroom Management

Grade tracking, interactive learning platforms, and Google can help keep your students riveted and your obligations organized. Explore the functions and benefits of digital tools like:9

  • Google Classroom
  • Class DoJo
  • Padlet
  • Playposit
  • Class Charts

#8. Continuous Learning and Development

One of the joys of becoming a teacher is that it compels instructors to continue learning—not only to indulge their love of it but also because it’s usually mandatory to maintain teaching certification(s).10 To uphold your professional development, consider:

  • Attending workshops and seminars
  • Reading literature and listening to podcasts, both on the subject(s) you teach and educational trends
  • Enrolling in summer institutes

Above all, allow your students to teach you: They are the chief reason you’ve selected your profession, and there’s no better way to learn than by listening to the source itself.

Ace Your First Year of Teaching with Alliant International University 

If you already know the answer is yes to “Should I be a teacher,” then start your journey at Alliant. Earn your teaching credentials through our online educational programs led by experienced faculty.

From multiple-subject teaching and single-subject teaching credentials to advanced degrees in school counseling, we provide prospective teachers with a range of educational programs to pursue.

Request more information from our experts if you want to learn how to become a teacher in Arizona or California—and go through your first year with confidence.


  1. McDowell, Michael. “How Students and Teachers Can Develop Clear Expectations for Learning.” Edutopia, March 10, 2021.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

  2. Malamed, Connie. “Use Visual Cues to Enhance Learning.” The eLearning Coach, December 11, 2021.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

  3. Washburn, Brittany. “TIPS for Teachers: Organizing Digital Files.”, April 12, 2023.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

  4. Stanford, Libby. “Does Parent Involvement Really Help Students? Here’s What the Research Says.” Education Week, August 15, 2023.…. Accessed January 10, 2024.

  5. Shane J. Lopez and Preety Sidhu. “U.S. Teachers Love Their Lives, but Struggle in the Workplace.”, November 4, 2022.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

  6. “Making Teachers Stick: January 2020.” NASSP, January 1, 2020.…. Accessed January 10, 2024.

  7. Admin. “How to Get Help from Administrators as a Teacher.” CT3, September 7, 2023.…. Accessed January 10, 2024.

  8. Manly, Jen. “Time Management Tips for Teachers.” Edutopia, September 21, 2023. Accessed January 11, 2024.

  9. Kharbach, Med. “Best Classroom Management Websites for Teachers.” Educators Technology, September 23, 2023.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

      What are some continuing education options for teachers? -, 2023.…. Accessed January 11, 2024.

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