Your first year of teaching can be extremely overwhelming. You want everything to go perfectly, but perfection should not be the goal. Progress is the goal. Let’s talk about what NOT to focus on in your first year.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but let’s dive in to this one. As a special ed teacher, the last priority you should have is a Pinterest-worthy classroom. The layout and setup of your classroom should be functional for your students and for you. Anything you put on your walls should have a purpose. We aren’t worried about decor. We are focused on creating a safe, comfortable, functional learning environment for our students. Don’t focus on Pinterest-worthy classrooms.
Trying lots of new resources
You will absolutely need to try some new resources to see what works for your students, but don’t overdo it. Find a curriculum and some resources that work for your class of students and stick with those for the year. Trying to implement too may resources will be overwhelming for you and for your students. In order to implement curriculum with fidelity, you need to pick only what you NEED so you can put your focus on the instruction.
This one may be tough to hear, but you can’t do EVERYTHING your first year of teaching. You can’t become a great teacher if you are juggling too much. Instead of joining a bunch of committees, attending school events, making all the Pinterest-worthy resources, focus on building routines and structure in your classroom. Focus on the basics your first year of teaching, and I promise you will thank yourself in the long run.
You will not be perfect you first year, or any year. We leave our education training programs with rose colored glasses on, and that isn’t a bad thing. We enter the classroom with an excitement and energy, and we want to have the perfect classroom and be the perfect teacher. Perfection isn’t our goal though, progress is. Walk into your classroom every day with the mentality of wanting to be better than you were yesterday. You will make more progress that way than trying to be perfect.
First year is hard. I won’t sugarcoat that. However, no matter how hard it is, you will make it and you can make your classroom into the classroom of your dreams. Focus on what is important, and put the desire for perfection aside. If you’re looking to reduce your stress and improve your classroom setup, join Simple Self-Contained Setup 101®! This professional development course is designed for special ed teachers to set them and their classrooms up for success. Join the waitlist today!
If you’re looking for more tips for your first year of teaching, check out Alyssa’s blog post where she give first year teachers all her tips, tricks, and advice!