Advice for a New Teacher?

The Question:
I could potentially be getting my very first teaching job as a full-day kindergarten teacher. Any ideas from seasoned teachers for a newbie?
Tell me your management techniques, First day of school routines, fun games, procedures etc. I would love to hear it all!
The Answers:
Diane Smith
Establish rules and routines very clearly and very down to basics. Don’t assume they know things such as how to line up or how to wait in line for the bathroom, how to clean up, etc. Practice lining up, practice walking in the halls, etc,
Diane Dickson Hanson
 Remember “it takes slow to grow.”
Matt Halpern
 Try Pinterest for LOTS of activities and ideas. Also – try and remember they know NOTHING about being in school and be PATIENT. Remember you will be exhausted your first few days. It always gets better with each day. 😀
Liz Hyman 
Use pinterest to store ideas and look at other peoples’ ideas. It will help you to not lose something you want to go back to later!
Oh, and model, model, model over and over…make GOOD anchor charts to show the children how to do everything- they will see words and do them: use all their senses!
Amanda Bertrand
 Definitely  spend the first 2 weeks establishing rules, routines and procedures. Practice practice practice!
Jessica Abrams
Be consistent with routines, procedures, and management. Use positive behavior management along with corrective behavior management. Always try to think ten steps ahead of the kids with each lesson or activity you do.
Cheryl Schein Vourvoulas 
Of course, there’s Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten. Be sure to use The Kissing Hand, too.
Jeanetta Benjamin Hynes 
And help them learn to share…lots of them will not know how to share and play with others….
Penny Lapier Aspiolea
 Keep them busy. No down time.
Diane Dickson Hanson
And remember they may not remember all they learn in kindergarten but they WILL remember how you made them feel.
Katie McDonald
 Make sure you know how they are getting home, sounds silly but can be overlooked especially by new teachers.
 We do a scavenger hunt to show them the school the first day. Look up gingerbread man scavenger hunt online or make your own. We’re doing a Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See themed one this year.
Jamie Butterfield Berube
 Read The First Six Weeks of School
Kristen Scott
 I think the most important job of a kindergarten teacher, despite what the standards tell us to do, is to teach children how to learn. If you treat them with kindness, they will not only know how, but will LOVE to learn.
Jeni Van Buer
 First, congratulations! Kindergarten children and parents are amazing! You’re getting some great advice, here. I’ll add that every group of children will reveal varying needs. Listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to change direction if needed. Include parents in your classroom, maybe via a guest story reader once a week just before lunch. Enjoy!!
Dawn Spurr
 Spend the first week doing nothing but rules—bathroom procedures, lines, sitting, etc. Throw in some fun ideas-Kissing Hand, Mrs. Bindergarten, etc. See what they can do…cutting, writing, tracing. Believe me, that will take up ALL your time!
Melissa K. Harris Armann
Really plan in detail and think about each activity. Spend a lot of time the first month going over all your procedures.
Denice Christiansen
This is a great list, this will be my 10th year teaching kindergarten.  It’s always nice to have a quick refresher!! Love them, but make sure they know the expectations.
Tristica Stemple 
Harry Wong’s book The First Days of School does a great job helping the teacher set routines and procedures, the most important thing to do FIRST. I also use Debbie Diller for workstations when you are ready to start that. Her methods are wonderful and easy and will save you time and grief. Most importantly…HAVE FUN! 🙂
Cindy Howington DeTore
 Congrats! I love teaching K! First a.m.: I have instructions on board for parents to unpack supplies & see me about lunch & transportation before leaving. I have coloring sheet for kiddos of a school house. I also have a place for pics w/parents. Be sure you know about food allergies/medical issues. We send home a communication folder daily with behavior chart & work/announcements. And, yes, I spend the first 3 – 4 weeks establishing rules, procedures, & routines. Have fun with them & be firm but fair. They crave guidelines. Love & hug them when they need it. Please make sure to give them lots of chances to move & stay away from tons of worksheets! Best grade ever! Foundation for educational career!
Cheryl Waldorf Niemeyer 
Have the children help you establish a Code of Cooperation….an easy tool that sets a foundation of behavior. You can post it…and it is a visual used as reminders.
Lisa Marie Combs-Presley 
Let them get the “play” out…give lots of time to explore and get used to being at school. This could take a month. Remember, when they come to you they are still young and may not have had any school experience (they may still act like preschoolers…because they are). It takes a while to become a big kindergartener! Give them time…they’ll get there.
Sarah Hudson 
KEEP IT SIMPLE for at least a month. Don’t worry about cutsie art projects, you will end up doing most of the work and making yourself nuts. Keep the glue and scissors locked up for 2 weeks at least! START SLOWLY.
Elise Summer Wright
 Look up Dr. Jean for poems, rhymes and lots of little tricks to get the kids’ attention.
Elise Summer Wright 
Kim Deibert 
Spend  time just observing and recording your children’s language during free play during the first few months so you know them well and see where they need to go next. (and kids never get their ‘play’ out..sorry! they need it all year!!!
Barbara Alexander Schrader
Whole brain teaching. Only 5 simple rules. Kids love it. It works and is fun for them and you. Go slow at first get to know your kids.  You’ll love kindergarten.
Doreen ONeil 
The first few weeks of school, I take out Tub Toys all day long: I have several dishpans with manipulatives, very basic. After reading aloud, and teaching rules and routines, out come the Tubs. No more teacher talk, they get to play, everyone is happy. even the brightest children cannot listen all day and attend. The first few days are long and kids are tired. My immediate goal is…I want happy campers!
Kristen Fuller 
Plan in fifteen minute chunks. More like ten the first few weeks. Move, move, move! Get some Greg & Steve, Dr. Jean, and/or Charlotte Diamond CDs. They will save your life. 🙂
Jessy Ciochon Kirmer 
Shauna Cannon
 My mentor told me (this will be my first year in k!) to have something for them to do when they come in that is SO EASY. They may not know how to color (three seconds of scribbling and, “I’m done!”) so I’ll have several puzzles out, ready for kiddos (This is what we did for our transitional kinder camp so about half my kids will have this down already). She also said to over over over plan.
Nola Boyd 
Congratulations on getting the best job in the world. You get to continue and extend the journey into learning that their parents started. It will be so worth it. Lots of good ideas shared already, just remember to love what you are doing:-)
Patricia Ann Slide
 Being a long time retired teacher..loved reading everyone’s posts..GREAT advice..these all worked 50 years ago ! Good luck..have fun ! !
Mary Hewitt 
Model, repeat, the first two weeks are more about getting them used to school – routines, routines, routines, rules—I go over them all the time. When they shout out stuff I point to my simple rules with pictures. Before we do things we even talk about what good listeners do. . . and also I spend the first two weeks testing them, even though I get sheets on some things from pre-school I want to know what letters, shapes, colors, patterns, numbers—-that way I know who needs extra support. This also gives us some play time and  time to adjust to kindergarten. That way when I start putting them into groups for when we read I can know where to place them. Go to Shari Sloane’s sight she has TONS of great ideas for first days of school. I am going to miss kindergarten this year but am so looking forward to being in first and seeing where my kinders go in reading and math too. :o)
Melissa Mullin Beykirch
 Listen and learn from seasoned teachers. They know alot and are always willing to help/mentor new teachers.
Laurie Cooper Bartkowiak 
Remember that kids that age don’t know when you mess up so just go with the flow.
Loise Perkins
 Lucky you! The first month is hard because you and the kids are learning about each other. Keep it as simple as you can. If you find yourself smiling you are doing it right. They need modeling, movement, music and consistency. If you feel you are losing them, start singing…gets their attention every time, especially if you add their names. Use simple tunes and change the words. ENJOY!!!
Carolyn Boyce 
I wrapped up everything in my classroom with colored bulletin board paper and taped question marks all over the wrapping. When my class arrived nothing was opened yet…and the classroom looked kind of Seussical. I then did Responsive Classroom-style guided discovery of EVERYTHING over the first few weeks of school…see First Six Weeks of School posted above. I did guided discovery of small stuff like crayons, pencils, glue sticks, etc, by placing them in a paper lunch sack and drawing s question mark on it…we called it the “guess bag”. The excitement of “unveiling” everything- from crayons to the drama area- was SO much fun for everyone. Also, it alleviates the potential problem of the impulsive puppies who want to immediately play with everything they see and will run over and do so because they don’t know how to do school yet. Out of sight, out of mind. Just be sure to unveil at least one “big” area on the first day. I usually did games and puzzles shelf (which included other mainpulatives) first day and made sure there were enough things to entertain the whole class playing on the rug. Have fun!
Julianne Delaway
‎14 years ago when I started teaching, the best advice I got from a veteran teacher was “don’t try to do everything the veteran teachers are doing…they have been doing this for over 10 years”. Do the basics and add a little bit each year. Also, kinda funny…..someone told me “children are like dogs–they can smell your fear.” Don’t ever let them see you are frazzled. Turn on a cd, take a deep breath and remember you can always turn on the leapfrog dvd or the meet the sight words dvd for a good 30 minutes of educational entertainment and time for you to regroup! Good luck and Congratulations! KINDERGARTEN IS THE BEST!!!
Denise Widen
 Look into conscious discipline by becky wonders for me…you will need training….
Tandy Lynn Braid 
Karen Weitz Schecter 
Lots of songs, stickers, behavior incentives and rules chart!

2 thoughts on “Advice for a New Teacher?

  1. Congratulations! You will absolutely LOVE kindergarten. Although there are challenges, the joys far outweigh those challenges! You will be tired, but feel so rewarded. I find the Responsive Classroom approach to be most helpful. Particularly the strategy of Interactive Modeling, 7 steps used to model social, academic, procedural and “you name it” skills! Check out their website. Also, Kindergarten in Photographs by Jasmine Greene and Joyful Learning by Bobbi Fischer are some of my favorite resources. Of course singing, lots of literacy and read alouds will make your first weeks memorable! Good luck to you and welcome to the wonderful world of kindergarten!

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