“What I Wish I Had Known”
Teachers share their best advice to help new educators start their first year with confidence.
Manage your classroom fairly and firmly
“Classroom management is very important. Have fair rules, consequences and rewards. Do not try to be the student’s friend. They need to respect you first and then they can be your friend, like being a parent instead of a playmate. Always keep promises you make to students, and if you tell them you are going to do something as a consequence or punishment, then follow through. If you don’t, they will not respect you.” — Diane Mentzer, library media specialist
Ask for help, and learn from your mistakes
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Develop relationships where you can be honest and get advice and new ideas. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!” — Kendra Wisenbaker, fifth-grade teacher
Get advice and support from teachers
“Be prepared for anything! College courses do not prepare you for the reality of teaching. However, there is a great group of teachers talk to and look to for advice. That’s what I found when I joined NEA student and then my local when I became a teacher. I’m always thankful that I have that connection to other teachers so we can share our stories and advice.” — Amy (Murphy) Gabriel, fourth-grade teacher