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8 Mistakes To Avoid As A New Teacher

Great teachers are those who take action and get things done.  They often seem to know all the answers and every strategy that works, as well as the ones that do not.  The truth is, great teachers make mistakes and learn from those mistakes year after year.  They reflect, collaborate, and improve as much as possible.  Most of all, despite the frustrations and obstacles that come with teaching, they never give up!


Persistence is critical to success, but sometimes, as new teachers, when things get tough or overwhelming we really want to bail, don’t we? Thoughts begin to enter our heads and we convince ourselves that we aren’t cut out for this job.  One thing leads to another and eventually we feel that we may even want to give up!

The good news is that we can get through these tough moments a little easier by avoiding some simple mistakes early in our career.

If you’re a new teacher who wants to know the “inside scoop” on how to be successful in the classroom, I suggest checking out these 8 mistakes many new teachers make and avoid them!

8 mistakes to avoid as a new teacher

 1. Trying to be their friend

Many teachers who are new to the classroom try to befriend their students in hopes of looking “cool” or “relating” to them.  Although it may seem great at first, this doesn’t work. First gain their respect, and then capture their hearts. Remember to be friendly with your students, but they are not your friends. You are an authority figure in the classroom and students today need a strong leader.

 2. Taking things personally

Over the past 15 years of teaching I have heard it all.  At first I would take it all in and found myself depressed over the fact that I must be a bad teacher because of what a particular student may have said on any given day. You must remember that a student’s comments or actions may reflect his or her problems, not yours. In the end, students will be students, so don’t take what they say personally.  The bottom line is that deep down they appreciate you and look up to you for being a positive influence in their lives everyday.

        3. Not getting to know your peers

 As a new teacher, colleagues can be intimidating.  Just know that other teachers are a new educator’s greatest resource.  Make an effort to get to know them, it will pay off dividends in the future. Don’t pretend you know everything and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Teachers are caring individuals by nature and will help you every step of the way, all you have to do is ask. 

4. Being Too Hard On Yourself

Teaching is hard enough without the additional anxiety over mistakes made or poor lessons. Learn from everything you do and remember both the mistakes and the successes. Nobody’s perfect. Even the most experienced teachers make poor decisions from time to time. Forgive yourself for the day’s mess-ups, erase the board, and gather your self-confidence and strength for the days ahead.  Practice the same compassion that you show your students by turning that understanding on yourself!

5. Forgetting to form ROUTINES from day one

Take the time needed to implement and structure routines early to reap benefits later.  Create routines for everything you need to help the class run smoother.   Make sure the students know what to do when they enter, how they will move about the classroom, the procedure for leaving the classroom for anything, and even the routine for how to end class.  Routines are important and will save time down the road if they are put in place early in the year.

6.  Not dressing professionally.

  Dress in a way that makes your image clear to other staff, parents, and students.  Your personal “style” of dress isn’t as important as your impression on students.  Dressing professionally each day gives a sense of pride and authority in what you are doing.

7.  Being inconsistent

Be consistent! Be consistent! Be consistent! Stand behind everything you say to students because they remember it all.  If you state a rule make sure you keep that rule and follow through with it every time. If you say something make sure to do what you say.  Students will respect you more if you are consistent, not if you “let things slide.”  You want students to be able to count on you to be a positive role model in their life.  You may be the only consistent person they have, take that responsibility seriously.

8. Getting involved in gossip.

Being respectful, polite, and helpful can go a long way. Be kind to everyone in the building from your colleagues all the way to the students. Don’t get involved in the latest gossip that tends to circulate within school buildings.  Nothing good has ever come from gossip in the teachers lounge. Bring your strengths and positive ideas to those around you and they will appreciate you for it.  

[shareable cite=”Chuck Poole”]Students look up to you for being a positive influence in their lives everyday.[/shareable]

Question: What other “mistakes” should new teachers avoid? Leave a comment by clicking here.

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