A Guide To Help First Year Teachers Thrive in Education

Make the transition from student to teacher easier with useful tips and advice specifically tailored towards new teachers. Check out our guide!


The life of First Year Teachers, are crazy! And going from a student teacher to a First Year Teacher is a big life transition, but it doesn’t have to be stressful! 

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[su_spoiler title=”A Guide to Help New Teachers Thrive in Education in The New Year Transcripts” style=”fancy”]Helena (00:00):

It was in that moment. I remember this vividly. I was shaking cold cuz it was so windy. I was holding Kyle’s hand in his pocket cuz it was freezing. And I remember looking up at what looked like the space needle in my mind because Washington, Seattle, I remember looking up and thinking I’m such a failure. Hey teacher bestie. My name’s Helena and I’m the creator of the President Teacher podcast. I’m a first year teacher coach and in this podcast you are gonna learn everything from simple actual classroom management, social emotion learning and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you wanna make in the classroom. We’re gonna make it happen here.

Helena (00:47):

It’s new year, new you and whether you like to stay up when the countdown reaches zero, watch the ball drop and fireworks. Or if you are in bed by 10:00 PM on New Year’s Eve, we are all under the fresh start effect. Let me explain what this is. So you see, five years ago on December 31st, 2018, I was walking around Las Vegas, Nevada with my then boyfriend Kyle for the first time. He had surprised me with this trip and we had packed his little white GT Ford Mustang with a suitcase and drove seven hours to go to Las Vegas and we were broke, just graduated college students so we couldn’t really afford a hotel for very long. So we got a hotel for one night. And despite being exhausted after our seven hour drive from New Mexico to Las Vegas, Nevada, we decided to walk the entire strip of Las Vegas.

Helena (01:42):

We didn’t get a taxi because, um, KAF cuff, we were both being stubborn. Love you Kyle. We walked inside and out of every single casino on the strip that we could. And let me just say the views were glorious. I felt like I was in a time capsule back to when I went to my Italy trip Beside the point. By the end of the night we had walked over 25,000 steps despite our seven hour drive that day we ended our night looking up at the Strat Hotel, looking up into the very, very cold and windy sky for rails. They thought they were going to postpone or not even do the fireworks. I’m glad they did. But it was in that moment, I remember this vividly. I was shaking cold cuz it was so windy. I was holding Kyle’s hand in his pocket cuz it was freezing.

Helena (02:32):

And I remember looking up at what looked like the space needle in my mind because Washington, Seattle, I remember looking up and thinking, am such a failure. You see, time seemed to stop. And in this moment I remember looking back at my entire first half of my first year of teaching remember. And I remember thinking, what am I doing with my life? What am I doing? And in this moment, time seemed to slow down, down. And at that moment as I watched the fireworks, I made a wish. So what I described to you my not the 25,000 steps and the 20 year old stubbornness, but that moment in time where time seemed to stand still, that’s what we call the fresh start effect. So I first heard this term on an episode on the Mel Robbins podcast. I’ll include her show in the show notes.

Helena (03:31):

It’s a great podcast for setting goals and reaching your goals in life. But you might be wondering what is the fresh start effect? Well, it’s when you blow the candles out on your birthday cake or you’re starting a new school year, a new month, new quarter, or in this case that I referred to the new year. It’s that moment in time where time seems to stop and you dig deep and wish for that internal thing that you’re so scared to say out loud when the old you stops like Neo and the matrix and the new you and the possibilities come to life. So what was my fresh start effect during this cold new year night in Las Vegas, Nevada? Well, it was simple. I didn’t wanna cry anymore. I wanted to thrive. You see, that sounded very cheesy, but you see, just like the fresh start effect time stopped for me on that cold night.

Helena (04:26):

What I didn’t mention was that the old me two weeks ago had slept for three days straight on my winter break because I was so exhausted and mentally and emotionally checked out. The old me was staying up past midnight trying to get everything done on my first year teacher to-do list. And the old me kept looking around wondering, what on earth am I missing? How do these other teachers do it all? As I was working late into the night and early into the morning at that time in my life, I had reached that moment where I looked around and finally said, if this is teaching, I can’t be a part of it. And that hit me hard. I had wanted to be a teacher my whole life, even had my little brother when in six, when he was sixth play school with me nonstop until he would beg my parents to tell me to play something else.

Helena (05:18):

Sorry dalt! That’s how obsessed I was. But on December 31st, 2018, things were different. I had dug deep and found out what I really wanted to do. I didn’t wanna suffer anymore. I wanted to make the change I knew I could make as a teacher and still thrive outside of the classroom. I didn’t wanna work late anymore. I didn’t wanna bring work home and nonstop working until I was crying because I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted. So what did I do after that moment war time stopped. Well, I made a wish and Kyle and I climbed upstairs into our hotel room and fell asleep by 1205. I know we’re hardcore over here, but beside the point when I got back to my house in New Mexico, I went to work. You see the fresh start effect is all about taking the old you throwing it to the wayside and starting to pursue the person you wanna become.

Helena (06:21):

So how do you do that? How do I start a fresh start effect and start taking action? Well the first thing you need to do is to make a wish. Take a second now and make a wish for this next year. Forget everything that’s happened over the last couple months or year and dig deep and wish. Now I’m not talking about that little wish you that you would say out loud to everybody. I’m talking about that scary dream that you don’t dare say out loud because people will think you’re crazy. Do you wanna hear mine? My wish is, is that this year I will finally thrive inside and outta the classroom and I will help other teachers around the world do it too. You see, I didn’t have anyone to be with me along this journey when I first started, but here on this episode that’s going to change on this podcast show, I’m going to have experts, friends, mentors, and other teachers from around the world walk us through how we can finally make the impact we wanna make inside the classroom while still thriving on the outside.

Helena (07:29):

Which brings me to my next point. The second step to the fresh start effect is to take action. I’m not talking about climbing en Everest tomorrow, but if you do teach your bestie, totally send me pictures because I wanna see Mount Everest bucket list Anyways, I’m talking about showing up every single day and taking one action. So let’s go back to that Everest example. Let’s say that two teacher besties are climbing up Mount Everest. They don’t get there by doing a short sprint and giving up. It’s all about taking a small step every day or inch by inch, one step closer to the top. And what might you find along the way? Well, remember this is a journey, not a destination. What’s beautiful about this journey is you’re gonna find other teachers along the way, people behind you that can help you climb up and it’s all about the climb.

Helena (08:26):

So think about one small action you can take each day to get started. Which brings me to step number three. So if you are a first year teacher, here are five things you can take action to thrive as a first year teacher in 2023. The first one being, develop a classroom management plan. I can’t tell you how many times I struggled with behaviors. If only I had taken the time to create a classroom management plan, I would’ve known exactly what I was doing. A classroom management plan, there’s a lot of different, different, different definitions going around, but it’s not a bunch of roles. It’s how you want your classroom to run on a day-to-day basis. And I actually have a freebie you can grab and download that’ll walk you through your classroom management plan. So make sure to download that. The second one being have clear expectations and procedures.

Helena (09:24):

How do you want your students to interact with you? Others in materials? Make sure to model this. Take the time and sit down with your students and model what it should look like, model monolith for them. And then have them discuss with each other what it looks like, sounds like. And then have someone come up and volunteer to model what it doesn’t look like, can sound like. And then have a couple more people model again what it looks like. Seriously. Model, model, model. It’ll save your life. Think about those expectations and those procedures that you wanna have in your classroom. The third one being a focus on building relationships. Honestly, your relationships can make or break your year. Students will not learn from a teacher they don’t like build. That’s why it’s so important to build that no like and trust factor with your kids, for example.

Helena (10:16):

Here are some ways you can build that no like and trust factor with your kids. The first one being greet them at the door. Maybe you give second. Maybe you give them a positive call home or a positive note to take home. Third, start asking them questions about them personal, their personal life. And don’t forget to share a little bit about your life too, so you can start building that relationship with them and they can learn to know your life and know more about you. The fourth one being I like to eat lunch with my kids every Friday. You don’t have to do this every day. Trust me as an introvert, I like my time in silence too. But take some time, meaningful time outta your date to just focus on communicating with your students and getting to know them. The fourth thing you can work on as a first year teacher in 2023 is honestly as a first year teacher it can feel extremely isolating, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Helena (11:13):

There are other online communities to join and you can learn from that’ll help you along your journey. So I have a community that I would love to invite you to, which is your first year teacher support group. I love this community cuz we’re all about sharing our wins, targeting and learning from each other, sharing strategies and all of that is super important as a first year teacher. And mostly just a place to feel seen, heard, and understood because I feel like other people just don’t understand your first year of teaching, like other first year teachers do, the next thing you can do is to take five for you. If you’ve been here a long time, this is not new to you, but take those five minutes, this will radically change your day. I have a freebie you can download, which is 40 self-care ideas that take five minutes or less.

Helena (12:05):

But when you take those five minutes for yourself, what you’re gonna find is you’re gonna be able to create an even greater impact with the people you help and you’re gonna feel better throughout the day. So let me ask you, how are you going to use this fresh start effect this new year? I know I’m personally gonna be spending it with other educators around the world, so I can help other first year teachers too. But let me know what you’re focusing on and if you’re on my email list, make sure to go ahead and leave me a response on SpeakPipe so I can possibly put you in the next podcast episode. I would love if you could subscribe to the podcast and in the next episode we are going to be talking about how you can incorporate joy into your day. What is the hardest thing about incorporating joy into your day?

Helena (12:52):

Let me know by asking this question. If you are on my email list, make sure to respond to that audio prompt I talked about. And don’t forget to take a picture of you listening to this podcast and DM me on Instagram that you watched this episode. I would love to hear from you and see all the teachers around the world tuning in to this exact episode. Remember that we are stronger together, teacher bestie. I got your back and I will talk to you into the next episode with all the love the present teacher, aka Helena.

Helena (13:28):

Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode. I hope that you were able to take away some value that will help you thrive inside and outta the classroom. It would mean the world to me. If you could take five seconds right now and leave a review on this podcast. And if you found this podcast especially helpful, make sure to take a screenshot of this episode right now and tag me on your social school. Let me know you’re listening. As always, remember that we are stronger together with all the love in the world. Helena aka, the present teacher. See you next time. Teacher bestie.


Show Notes:

If I can be completely honest with you, my first year of teaching I felt like a complete failure. I remember looking up at the Strat Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada at 11:59 pm on New Year’s Day. And in that moment, time seemed to stop and I realized something that really hurt… and that was that I had completely failed my first year of teaching.

Hey New Teachers!

Make this your best year yet with the Ultimate First Year Teacher Checklist!

Download the guide that walks you through everything you get done this year a success. (Oh and it’s completely free!)

    We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time!

    You see, I wasn’t focusing on what I was supposed to. Instead of building relationships, getting organized, and becoming a better first year teacher I was instead spending my time trying to get everything done on my to-do list and trying to fit the role of “the perfect teacher” by societies teachers.

    After years of experience and research, however, I discovered that not all first year teachers have to experience that. With some coaching and strategies, you can make your first year of teaching fun and, dare I say, even thrive?! This guide will provide you with the essential First Year Teacher tips and tricks so that you can ensure your success in the classroom.

    So grab that cup of coffee and let’s bring your dreams to life!

    P.S. If you want to grab a checklist that walks you through everything, make sure to grab it here.

    Develop a Classroom Management Plan.

    Establishing clear and consistent expectations is key to having a successful classroom. Creating an effective classroom management plan is essential for setting boundaries, fostering positive student behavior, and avoiding potential pitfalls. Make sure you include rules and consequences that are age appropriate and reinforced by both positive and negative attention. Open communication with your students can help them stay accountable to the expectations you have set in the classroom.

    Have Clear Expectations for Your Students.

    When you’re a first year teacher, it will be important that you establish clear and consistent expectations for your students. These expectations should be age appropriate and clearly communicated to your students. Make sure they understand what is expected of them in the classroom and reinforce these rules with both positive and negative attention when needed. Your students will appreciate the consistency in your classroom management plan, which will ultimately make it easier to manage their behavior.

    Put a Focus on Building Relationships.

    As a first year teacher, it’s important that you prioritize relationship building with your students. Try to get to know your students and their individual needs. Developing good relationships will help ensure that there is trust in the classroom, which can lead to better learning outcomes for your students. Additionally, try developing relationships with other teachers at the school who may have more experience in the field. Establishing helpful friendships and mentorships can be incredibly beneficial for new teachers as they navigate their new career path.

    Hey New Teachers!

    Make this your best year yet with the Ultimate First Year Teacher Checklist!

    Download the guide that walks you through everything you get done this year a success. (Oh and it’s completely free!)

      We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time!

      Utilize Available Resources and Support Networks. 

      Take advantage of the resources available to you as a teacher – online resources, professional organizations and support networks, and other helpful tools such as blogs and podcasts. These resources can help equip you to face new challenges and better understand different aspects of teaching. Participating in an education-focused mentorship or peer group can also be great for helping first year teachers learn from seasoned professionals. Lastly, don’t forget about utilizing your own network of friends and family who are there to offer emotional support during times of stress or transition.

      Make this your best year yet with the Ultimate First Year Teacher Checklist!

      Take Time to Reflect on Your Experiences and Learn From Mistakes.

      As a first year teacher, you will likely realize from the start that you can’t anticipate every situation. Though mistakes are bound to happen, take the time to debrief and reflect on what happened and what your response could have been better. With this knowledge (and the advice of more experienced teachers) you can work to hone the craft of teaching and be better prepared for potential future situations.

      To Wrap it All Up:

      Overall, you don’t need to struggle as a First Year Teacher. If anything, you can save YEARS of struggling by listening and working with other teachers and First Year Teacher Coaches. And if you want to get ahead of the game this year, download the First Year Teacher Checklist! Because in the end:

      “We are stronger together!”

      Helena Hains