As a new teacher, you are filled with positivity at all the difference you know you will make in some child’s life. But while teaching can be a gratifying job, it can also be a demanding, stressful and thankless job. As a young teacher, you are confident that you can face anything. But unknowingly, you might make some common mistakes and not realise the impact they have on you as a teacher.
Below are 10 common mistakes that new teachers should avoid making.
1. DON’T: Relax Your Classroom Rules
Most new teachers relax their classroom rules because they want their students to like them. But remember, by relaxing your rules you are letting them get away with indiscipline. From the moment you begin teaching, lay out clear and concrete rules and let your students know what you expect of them. Children thrive on routine, rather than an absence of it. You can be their friend too but you should be their teacher first.
2. DON’T: Teach Without A Lesson Plan
New teachers often attempt to do too much in too less time. They do not make lesson plans or pace themselves, confident of finishing as much as they can in a day. However, while you might feel that making a lesson plan is boring and time-consuming, lesson plans are actually extremely useful. By laying down an objective and end goals for success, lesson plans keep you organized and allow you to see how your students are faring academically.
3. DON’T: Ignore Community Connections
As a new teacher, you are going to need plenty of support and help from your colleagues. So interact with them as much as you can. Greet your colleagues, have lunch in your staff room, participate in group events and reach out to the teachers around you. Only a teacher can help another teacher.
4. DON’T: Constantly Bring Your School Work Home
For new teachers, the initial days are the hardest. There are piles of home-work books to correct, papers to grade, lesson units to plan etc. It is very easy to get swamped by all the work that needs to be done, which also leads to school work consuming your life even at home. Organise yourself, prioritize your work and try to finish as much as you can at school itself. You don’t need to be superhuman, just super-organized!
5. DON’T: Skip Lunch
Sometimes, teachers work through lunch time and end up skipping it. However, it should be kept in mind that you need energy to work for the rest of the day. Organize your work appropriately and make sure that you eat your meals regularly and on time.
6. DON’T: Play Favorites
Teachers may have some favorite students and that is natural. But this can demoralize other students in the class, especially when this favoritism is evident. Playing favorites may give rise to many classroom conflicts, particularly in lower grade classrooms. See the best in each student and try to treat all of them fairly.
7. DON’T: Take Things Personally
Certain students will get on your last nerve. As a teacher you may punish these children, but do it for the sake of discipline, not because you are looking for revenge. Begin each class with a blank slate and don’t let personal judgments affect the way you teach. The goal is to be a good teacher and an impartial one at that.
8. DON’T: Have High Expectations From Your Students
Most new teachers are very optimistic about their students learning skills. However, when tests and assignments are given out and students don’t do well, a new teacher will always assume that they have failed as a teacher. Be realistic about your expectations. You are a teacher, not a miracle-maker. Give students time to get acclimatized to your teaching skills. Slowly but surely they will show you what they are capable of.
9. DON’T: Minimize Parental Communication
New teachers make the mistake of not communicating much with the parents of their students. Afraid of the complaints parents will have, they avoid interacting with them. Do not be scared of meeting parents and talking to them. Parents may have complaints to make but they can always offer valuable insight on their children and help you also improve as a teacher.
10. DON’T: Give Up
Being a teacher can be very frustrating sometimes. There is always so much to do and school work can bog a teacher down. But before giving up; take some time to think why you chose this profession. You became a teacher because you wanted to mold minds. On the bad days, remember why you became a teacher. Don’t give up because a few obstacles seem insurmountable.
What mistakes did you make as a new teacher? And what did you learn from these mistakes? Share your opinions and suggestions in the comment section below!