Categories: Classroom Management, First Year Teacher, New Teachers

5 Key Strategies to Setting Up Classroom Procedures As a First Year Teacher

Setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher can be exhausting. You’re trying all the advice your coworkers are giving you. Even trying new strategies you found online. But no matter how many new things you try, your students are still relying on you for everything, and they are never moving around the classroom as you would like them to. 

As a first year teacher, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how to best manage your classroom. Establishing procedures and expectations that are clear, consistent, and easy to follow can help create a positive learning environment for all students. This guide will provide tips and techniques on how setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher can have your classroom running smoothly without you.

Yes you heard me! So let’s grab that cup of coffee and get this classroom running like the classroom of your dreams!

Listen to the podcast:

5 Strategies to Setting Up Classroom Procedures as a First Year Teacher
Helena (00:00): Have you ever felt like you’ve tried everything but your students are still relying on you for everything? It feels like your classroom’s just not running how it’s supposed to and your students aren’t following the rules. If you feel this way, I wanna let you know you’re not alone. My student, Amanda, felt just like you. But what if I told you, if you could have the classroom where your procedures were so clear and defined that your students ran the classroom by themselves and you didn’t even have to say a word, I know you can do this because I helped my student, Amanda and other teachers around the world do the same. And that’s what we’re gonna cover in today’s episode. So make sure to stick around. You won’t wanna miss this. 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 emotional learning, and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you wanna make in the classroom. We’re gonna make it happen here. (01:02) Step one to building procedures is actually building relationships within your classroom. I’ll never forget when someone told me a student won’t learn from a teacher they don’t like. And this couldn’t be any more true today. You see, building relationships is important because you need to get your students to know, like, and trust you so they learn from you and it’s also important that they learn to work and build relationships with each other. So how do we accomplish this? You’ve probably heard people say build relationships in the classroom, but you might be asking yourself, but what does that mean? What does that look like? So I’m gonna tell you right here, right now, the first thing you gotta do is model, model, model, model, model. What does positive behavior look like? What does lining up or sitting at the classroom look like? Model what this looks like and doesn’t look like. (01:53) What does it sound like and what does it not sound like? And you need to model what positive relationships look like. What do good friends do for each other? What do they not do? Take some time in your classroom and go over what do good friends do for each other? Do they share? Do they not share? What does that look like? What does that sound like? What about conflict? Conflict resolution? How can you make things a win-win when you come to a conflict with another teacher or with an adult? Also, you wanna model what building a relationship looks like. Students learn best by watching you. They will mimic you. And if you are actively incorporating these into your classroom, your kids will pick up on them and they’ll start actually conflict solutioning or solving problems the same way you do in the class. So maybe you can show them what asking someone to play with me looks like being nice when someone isn’t having a good day. (02:53) All of these you can show by modeling, but you can also model to your kids what that’s gonna look like. The next thing is icebreakers. You can build relationships within your class by actively participating in icebreakers. And I don’t mean just for your students, I mean for teachers too. I love to do icebreakers with my kids because, well, number one, it incorporates join my day, but two, okay, I’m a little competitive. Three is good because it helps me build relationships with my kids. So icebreakers are a great way to build relationships from student to teacher, from end student to student as well. The next thing is check-ins. Do a daily check-in with each other. And as a class, how are we doing? How is the individual doing and what can we work on? (03:44) You also wanna build a positive classroom community and talk about what does that look like? What does that sound like? What can, what are the expectations for students to do in order to create that? And what can you as a teacher do to make sure that you are creating a environment where students and teachers feel heard, seen, liked, and trusted and validated. So step number two to creating procedures is to actually have clear expectations. Once the relationship is there and you have that solid, solid between the teacher to student and the student to student, students will want to make you proud. It’s our job to show them how they can make us feel proud. Let’s talk about what it looks like. Sounds like in the classroom. Use a visual model and do right from wrong. So this is literally how I do a procedure. I will talk about a procedure or an expectation I have in class like raising our hand or responding to a class call. (04:49) Then I will make a visual, I will model it and then we can make a visual model and we can talk about what I did right, what I did wrong, what did it sound like, what did it not sound like? What did it look like? What did it not look like? And during this process, I typically have a very deep conversation with my kids about how there’s a such thing as making a wrong choice, but there’s no such thing as a bad kid. And that’s really important. And I preach this in my class that I will love you whether you make a good choice. I will love you whether you make a bad choice or a mistake, that does not change for me. But once you have that strong relationship with your students and they have it with each other, they’ll want to make each other happy, they’ll want to make each other proud. (05:38) So make sure you’re modeling what expectations are clearly to your class. That way they can make you proud because honestly, that’s what kids want. They want to thrive. They’re not doing it as a personal attack. Step number three is to have clear outcomes and consequences. So okay, we made a mistake, but what happens when they don’t follow the expectations? Well, I’m here to tell you that natural consequences are going to be your best consequence or the best thing you can hope for. When it comes to not following expectations, natural is always best. I highly, highly recommend you keep all behavior in your classroom when possible. However, there are some severe behaviors that if you do it in my class, it’s an immediate out, I don’t tolerate it at all. And that’s throwing something and then putting hands on another person, those two things will immediately get you outta my classroom. (06:40) Everything else with exceptions, I’m gonna as asterisk that times five, I try to solve everything else in my classroom. So let’s talk about consequences. So let’s say that so and so, um, made a mess while picking, you know, while doing an activity and there’s a mess all over the floor. Well, the natural consequence would be to pull that student aside and to ask them to pick it up. That’s just the natural consequence and that’s what I try to do in my class. But you wanna think about what is the latter of outcomes that happens when a student makes a mistake or purposefully makes a wrong choice. So the first time, what happens then the second time, then what? Third time then what? Fourth time, then what, I’ll give you an example of mine. The first time I like to, it depends on what it is. (07:37) Sometimes I can tell the kids aren’t sure or they made a mistake and or they’re doing it on purpose the first time. Maybe you try to ignore it. Maybe it’s something that isn’t that major. So you just move on and you ignore the behavior so it doesn’t become something the second time. Maybe you give a non-verbal cue The third time, maybe you wanna remind them ex of the expectation or maybe even better yet, the third time, instead of bringing attention to that student who made the mistake, you point out another student as an example. So for example, I love how so-and-so is sitting crisscross applesauce, apples in their basket eyes up here, tracking the speaker with still hands, that is showing the other kids that you are giving praise to those that are following your expectations. Maybe then the fourth time you give a non-verbal cue, the fifth time, maybe you pull that student on the sideline and you have a one-on-one conference with them and talk about their consequence. (08:38) Either way, having this all planned out beforehand is really gonna help you. And then at what point is it a behavior plan deciding for you how many steps, how many warnings you’re gonna give your kids is really important. And then staying consistent across the board is really gonna help you. Step number four is helping your kids have responsibility through self-management. Students that are responsible for their own learning really thrive. And in our classrooms we really wanna make sure that they’re being responsible for their behavior and they have time to self-reflect. So there’s a couple different ways you can do this. You can have independent behavior trackers, you can have super improver walls, maybe you have a classroom behavior tracker. So for example, I talked about an independent behavior tracker that could be like a super improver wall. That’s what I use. And so students get a sticker and they level up each time they do a positive thing or I, you know, I celebrate them in class for following my expectations or the class’s expectation. (09:49) Maybe for a classroom behavior you do beat the teacher and if they have more green than red tallies, however many green tallies is they have is how many minutes they get to leave early or how many minutes of free time they get at the end of the day. Either way, having a way for students and the class to be accountable of their own behavior is super important. The next step is to develop routines and proce procedures. Like I said, you’re going to want to model these and most of all, you want the class to help come up with these routines and procedures. Now here is by far, I admittedly say the biggest mistake I made for several years. And the other biggest mistake I see first year teachers make when it comes to procedures is they create the procedures around the space. You do not want to do that. (10:48) I repeat. You do not want to do that. You wanna create the space that supports your procedures. So let me explain. So, or kind of expand on this. When I first started teaching, I was so excited to set up my classroom that I would buy all this decor and I would set up my classroom to be super cute. But then by the time it came down to the flow of my classroom from students, from getting point A to point B, turning in papers, I hadn’t thought that through. So then when the first day came or even the first month came, it was a struggle where instead if you focus on how you want the flow of your classroom to be first and then decorating the space, it’s really going to help you think about, okay, where do I want students to go when they’re done? (11:45) Where do I want my students to grab their materials? Those are all things you wanna think of first before you set up up your classroom. Now if you already set up your classroom, it’s not too late, take notes down. But this is a huge mistake I’ve made and other teachers have made too and I have. So again, don’t create procedures around the space. Create the space that support your procedures. And I do have a checklist actually that I created with every single procedure that I teach in a school year. And it’s a checklist and I revisit it every year. I revamp it, I talk about, you know, where I have it in my space, in my classroom, how it ran, and then I revisit the same checklist every single year when it’s back to school and then I revamp it if I need to. What I love about this is it’s also a great way to refer back to the procedures I’ve gone over already in class. (12:46) So when Christmas break or winter break comes around or after spring break and I notice my kids need to kind of review what we’ve learned in class and our procedures, I can go through this checklist and review it. So it’s already there and it’s already created. And when I teach every year, it’s already set up ready to go and I love it is such a time saver. So if you wanna download this, check out the show notes, I’ll make sure to put it there. You can have it, keep it, share it with your friends because man, I wish I did this like my first year seriously. But anyways, in that checklist you’re gonna see a lot of different procedures I set up in my classroom and I think through. But here are some that you can think of right now as you’re listing in the car or when you’re walking your dog, whatever you’re doing, here are some procedures you should be thinking about and have already covered in class. (13:42) And if you haven’t, don’t worry. I definitely did not cover all these the first couple of years and then I wondered why my kids were having a hard time or I covered it for a day and then I never revisited it. So here are some examples. First thing, pencils. How do you want your kids to get your pencils? Second thing, bathroom. What’s the bathroom procedure? Turning in work. I have a Ms. Hayes I Nu Box lining up. Are they in line order? Do they just go? Do you have music that dismisses them walking in line? What does it look like? Sound like transitions look like, sound like. Um, do you use different songs? Which songs mean what? Will you change those songs, class calls? What’s the expectation after you do a class call? Morning jobs. What happens when they come in the morning? Do they just come in and put their backpack and sit down? (14:27) What are they expected to do? Packing up at the end of the day stations. These are just some examples that I came off up with. But like I said, there’s a lot of procedures and if you didn’t cover one, that’s okay. It is not too late. I come up with procedures in the middle of the year all the time when I feel like we need to. So make sure to grab that, that freebie cuz you can grab all these and more. Thank you so much for joining me and I am so excited because you are now. Once you incorporate all these, the Queen of Procedures teacher Vesty, I would love if you could DM me your favorite part of today’s episode. Remember that we are stronger together and I will see you in the next episode. Love the present teacher. A k a. Hold on. (15:19) 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 socials. Let me know you’re listening. As always, remember that we are stronger together with all the love in the world. Helena a k a, the present teacher. See you next time. Teacher bestie.

Related Links:

Establish a Positive Classroom Environment- AKA Relationships 

The first step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to establish a positive class environment. You might be surprised to hear that you actually achieve this by establishing positive classroom relationships! When your students have a good relationship with you and each other they are more likely to follow along and even be leaders in following those classroom procedures you have set. 

A positive classroom environment is essential for student success. Start by defining and communicating your expectations for student behavior. Encourage a sense of community in the classroom by introducing icebreaker activities and regularly checking in with students to build relationships. I personally love to do love calls, greet my students at the door, and love notes. 

Acknowledge students’ efforts and recognize that all students have unique strengths and weaknesses. Focus on building those positive relationships with your students and you will be on your way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. 

Set Clear Expectations for Students 

The second step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to establish expectations for your students. Students thrive best when they know what’s expected of them. 90% of the time students want to make their teachers happy once that relationship is built. It is your job to model what that looks like and sounds like.

One way to do this is to establish firm but fair expectations for student conduct. Make sure that your rules are clear and understandable, so students will understand the reasons behind them. 

For example, you can set a rule that all students must raise their hand and be acknowledged to answer or ask a question. Post your classroom rules in an easy-to-see location and review them on a regular basis to help students remember them and hold each other accountable for following rules. Make sure to model what it sounds like and looks like when this procedure is done correctly.

All of these tips are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. If you want help with this, check out my Ultimate Procedures Checklist that walks you through step by step what procedures you should be incorporating in the classroom.

Enforce Rules & Consequences

The third way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to make sure to have clear rules and consequences when students do not follow your expectations and procedures.

As I mentioned before, students thrive the most when they know what is expected of them. 

This is also true when it comes to their consequences. If students know you are not going to give them a consequence for their action, then they are going to continue to do the unwanted behavior.

 Teaching students to follow rules is essential in maintaining an orderly classroom. In order to ensure that students understand the consequences for breaking rules, communicate your expectations from the start and make sure that all students are aware of the possible punishments for their actions. Each infraction should result in a consequence and be applied fairly, meaning the same consequence for each student who breaks a rule. Establish consistent outcomes – it will help you to maintain structure and provide consistency for all learners.

An example of what this could look like is:

  • 1st consequence- nonverbal warning
  • 2nd consequence- private verbal warning
  • 3rd consequence- think sheet
  • 4th consequence- note home

All of these ideas are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.

Teach Responsibility Through Self-Management Techniques 

The fourth strategy to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to teach your students responsibility for their learning. 

Encouraging students to take charge of their learning can be challenging, but is an important step in developing self-management skills. Create a behavior chart that allows students to track their own progress and set classroom goals. I personally don’t believe in clip charts, but I prefer to provide a super improver wall. Which you can check out here. 

You can also provide incentives, such as earning extra playtime or treats, when they meet those goals. I personally like to play beat the teacher for a couple minutes of “free time” at the end of the day. Make sure that all students are involved in the process and are aware of the consequences if they fail to meet expectations.

These are great examples on how you can start setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. 

Develop Routines & Procedures

The final step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to actually develop the routines and procedures. Ideally you want to do this before you even set up your classroom, but it’s never too late to incorporate new procedures.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I want my classroom to flow?
  • Where should students go if they need to find x, y, or z?
  • What centers do I need to set up in order for students to be successful?

By setting up your classroom to support your routines, you are ensuring your day runs smoothly and thought out. Routines help to provide consistency and structure, making it easier for students to know what is expected of them. This can include the timing of when the class should enter and exit the room, the materials they will need for lessons, and any other procedures necessary for smooth classroom management. Make sure that all students understand each routine thoroughly before proceeding with instruction.

And as always make sure to model what it looks like and sounds like for each routine with your students. All of these strategies are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.


Overall, there are 5 different strategies to setting up classroom procedures in the classroom as a first year teacher. This includes:

  • Establishing a Positive Classroom Environment- AKA Relationships 
  • Setting Clear Expectations for Students 
  • Enforce Rules & Consequences
  • Teach Responsibility Through Self-Management Techniques 
  • Develop Routines & Procedures

All of these strategies are great ways to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. If you need a routine on how to introduce a new strategy and what procedures you should incorporate download The Ultimate Procedures Guide where I provide you a list of the top procedures every classroom should incorporate as well as a video companion walking you through how I introduce a new routine.

What procedures are you incorporating this week? I would love to know!

Categories: Classroom Management, First Year Teacher, New Teachers

5 Strategies to Improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher

You finally step into your classroom for the first time only to realize you have no idea how to have effective classroom management as a first year teacher. Sure, you may have taken some courses, read a couple books, even saved a million strategies you saw on Tik Tok or Pinterest. But you may quickly realize that college didn’t really prepare you for the classroom. So you have started looking for different ways to improve classroom management as a first year teacher.

If this is how you are feeling right now, don’t worry! We’ve all been there. In fact I would say 98% of the teachers I’ve ever worked with or coached has said the same thing. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can have a well oiled machine of a classroom that is ran so smoothly that your students can run it without you… seriously! I have done it and I’ve helped hundreds of other teachers do it too! 

So if you want to have a self-ran classroom in your first year, grab a coffee and read or listen to these five 5 Strategies to Improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher. 

Listen to the podcast:

5 Strategies to Improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher
Helena (00:00):
Have you ever felt like your behaviors are just out of control and there’s nothing you can do? You’ve stalked all the free Facebook groups and you’ve even asked your teacher bestie and that mentor teacher down the hallway. You’ve tried the trends on TikTok but it’s still not working. And you might secretly be wondering if you’re cut out to teach. What if I told you that you could have a classroom that was so well ran that would blow your admin away and other teachers would be flocking to you asking how you did it? I’ve been there too and I used to struggle with classroom management after years of experience trying different things, learning from other teachers, I finally found what worked for me. And today I’m going to share the five tried and true strategies to make you tackle your classroom management like a veteran teacher. So stick around. You won’t wanna miss number five. It’s the one that everybody overlooks, guaranteed. Hey teacher Bestie. My name’s Helen 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, socialist learning, and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you wanna make in the classroom. We’re gonna make it happen here.

The first strategy to tackling your classroom management like a pro is to have clear rules and expectations. Kids thrive when they know what’s expected of them. I remember when I was teaching, I thought I had good rules and expectations, but boy was I wrong. Students weren’t always doing what I wanted or what I thought I had taught them and I felt personally attacked like my students were out to get me or something because they never followed the rules. It wasn’t until admittedly years later that I found out it was me. Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me now. The problem was, is I was not setting my students up for success. You might be wondering, how do I get my kids to listen to me and follow expectations? If this is you, you’re not alone. Don’t worry, I got you covered. Teacher bestie. Here are a couple different things you can do.

The first one, create clear expectations on what they should do. Model it right away. Discuss it with your class. For example, if I need a clear expectation on how we get water, I’m going to introduce it to my class and say, today we’re gonna talk about how we get water and I’m gonna model it, what it looks like and what it should sound like. And then I’m, we’re gonna sit down and I’m gonna have my, my students turn and talk and talk about what did they notice about how it looked like and sound like the expectations were for water. After that, we’re going to share out loud what we thought and have a discussion about it. Then I’m gonna have a kid model it. They’re gonna model it what it looks like, sounds like then and your kids have fun with this. Especially if you’re primary.

Your kids will love this. Have someone model the wrong way and every once in a while I kind of like to model the wrong way. Not gonna lie anyways. Model the wrong way to do it. Have your students think, pair, share what they did that was the wrong way. And then have them discuss it and then model the right way. Again, praise, praise, praise. Make sure to stop your lesson and call out and praise a lot the people that are doing and following expectations the right way. Also, don’t be afraid to review. I am personally always happy to review if it is going to save me hours of heartache and headache at the end of the year, it is worth doing now. So after every break, after a weekend on one of those crazy Mondays, whenever I notice my kids are just totally forgot as a class what to do, I will make sure to take time outta my day to review that procedure.

Next thing rules. Now your rules should be made through a class discussion. So I used a chart and we came up with our rules together. Um, I had my kids, you know, think okay for each other, some rule ideas and then they shared out loud and then we kind of tallied and combined the rules that made sense in group together. And I combined them to make five main rules. And then after you have your kids vote on which rules they agree on, come up with the rules themselves. I had my students signed by the rules for a couple reasons. First off, yes, some admin make you do this, but the reason I do this is because I now have student buy-in. Now when they break a rule and they’re having a hard time agreeing with me on their consequence or what have you, I can remind them, remember as a class and your name is here, we agree that we would raise our hand for permission to speak whatever the rule is or be a bucket filler.

That way you have now student buy-in and they feel like they are part of a community instead of a dictatorship. The next thing is to have clear consequences. When you have a student who is purposefully making a bad choice, try to ignore the bad choices if possible, I like to give a nonverbal cue. After that maybe I praise another student who’s doing the right expectations and I will point out that they are following the expectations and what I like about it. So for example, I love how so and so his eyes are facing floor, their hands behind their back, their their voice has a bubble. And I will keep doing that until that student naturally fixes. And then I’ll praise, make sure to praise a student who fixed their behavior. I might pull them aside and give them a reminder. Remember we use walking feet when we are in the hallway.

I might have that one-on-one talk with them and then we might practice and model what it looks like. Sounds like I might give an isolated warning where we talk like an isolating. By that I mean with going on the sideline, I might give them a think sheet and then a parent contact. Remember, natural consequences are always the best. So always try to look for that natural consequence and try to give it as neutral as possible without emotion. Because you don’t want your kids to feel like you’re, they can get you upset. Just give it as neutral as you can and move on. So, and I also talked about this before, but I remind my students that there are no such thing as bad kids just mistakes. I love them for who they are. I love them for when they make good choices and I love them for when they make bad choices.

They are not defined by the mistakes they make. So that is my quick spiel on all that. So strategy two is positive reinforcement as a teacher and as teachers, you really wanna think about how am I going to let my kids know that I see them in my classroom? I try really hard to make sure my kids feel seen, heard and validated. So at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of every day even, how am I going to let my kids know that I see them today? Am I gonna view them through a good positive lens or a bad lens? I personally try to have a positive classroom. There is way too much negative out there in the world. I want a little piece of positivity. Harry Potter happiness. And so have you ever had a morning where students just made it worse?

You were having a really hard morning, you woke up late and then you came in and your kids were just feeding off of you. It’s the same thing when it’s positive. Have you ever had a positive morning? You got your morning workout in, you got your five minutes of silence, you, you journaled, you finally got to actually drink your coffee instead of microwaving it five times beside the point and you came in and your kids had an amazing day. Same thing. We wanna create a positive environment for our kids. So you might be wondering, how do I create a positive environment? Everyone is telling me to do this, but how do you actually do it? So if this is you, here’s some ways you can do that. I got you covered. First thing, love calls. Ugh, I love these love calls. Love calls are positive calls home.

Now I had shared this on my TikTok and some people said that they don’t like doing calls because it’s triggering to some families. So they do positive notes either way, positive calls, love calls, love notes, home are amazing. So what I do is in the middle of my day, maybe we’re doing small group or the kids are working independently. If I see a student who has just been on top of it all day, they are on top of their game, I will pause everything. And the first time I do it, I make it a big deal guys, huge, a huge deal. And I say, oh my goodness, look and so and so would you like to do a love call? And they’ll be like, what’s a love call? They’ll be like, oh a love call is where we call home and we talk about what an amazing day you have.

You guys, my families are raving about this. Do love calls. Trust me. First off, it’s a great way to communicate with your families. It shows them that you are a positive teacher and it makes your kids’ day. I wish my principal would, you know, call my family and give me a love call. I wish I got positive notes from my principal. I wanna do the same for my students. So love calls and positive notes in my class we do bucket filling notes and I even do love notes where I leave them. Um, and Thanksgiving and we did the gratitude notes where I did it. One reason why I was grateful for each student every day you can get Y expo marker and write on their desks. Either way, think about how you would wished admin would treat you and do the same for your kids.

It just makes their day. The next thing is the super improver wall. Okay, did you guys ever use those clip charts? I know I’m cringing just saying it. And if you use a clip chart, don’t come at me. It’s okay If you like your clip chart, you keep your clip chart. But I despised my clip chart and it seemed like all the veteran teachers even, you know, all the veteran teachers used them. I didn’t like them because I felt like those kids that had a hard time regulating their emotions and their choices, once they finally came back they would see what color they would at and I would look for any reason to bring ’em back up, clip their pen up and they just couldn’t cuz they would just shut down And I just don’t, I don’t like that at all. So I use a super improver wall.

What this does is it uses gamification or using behavior kind of like a game. And students have like a little game card or a level up card and they get stickers and once it’s full I like to send mine home and they level up to the next color. And so essentially students are, are leveling up for their good behavior. What I love about this is kids then do not need materialistic things to be happy. I don’t do treasure test. Now granted, I do give my kids, you know, sporadic prizes here and there, but I don’t do Friday treasure chest. I want my kids to be proud of themselves because once they leave my classroom and they go to other teachers, I want them to be proud of them once they’re adults, I want them to learn to be proud of themselves. And so I want them to learn to look at their behavior and be proud of themselves.

So that’s what the super improver wall is hard. I’m gonna be honest, positive reinforcement is hard. But you know what I ran into most if not most of these ideas from an amazing, amazing educator named Ms. May from one fab teacher. I found her on YouTube, had to be a couple years ago now. And you guys, if I can meet Ms. May, Ms. May, if you’re listening, I’m a huge fan. Sorry I had to put that in there. Go follow her because you just talk to her and she is one big bucket of sunshine. Like she just makes your date better. So go follower on YouTube, she is a beautiful person inside and out. She makes education beautiful. Okay, I’m done. Go follow her for some positivity because she’s the queen of it. And then there’s another book she had mentioned and some other teacher authors too out in the teacher space recommended it too.

And you guys, this book changed my life and I think most of what Ms. May learned, or at least I can say partial, is from this book it’s called Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle. It changed my life you guys, please, please, please go grab it. Seriously, it is so good. I can’t, I can’t even, I have it right here on my desk. I haven’t. I put it in my backpack, you guys, I read it two years ago, three years ago. I still keep it around because it is so good. I have read a lot of classroom management books. They don’t beat this one. This one actually works. I’ve tried all the different, you know things. This one works. So okay, I’m done. Just go, go get it. Trust me, you’re gonna want it. Strategy number three is to encourage good behavior with open discussion.

Imagine a world where we intentionally took time out of our day to encourage good behavior where your students would just flourish and they would just, you know, bask in this praise and proud and self-fulfillment when you do this. Now imagine how having a safe space to ask and answer questions while receiving the praise and talking about good behavior, imagine how that could impact students that would completely change their lives. So I wanted to have this discussion. You might be like me and you’re like, you know what? I wanna have these discussions. I wanna create a safe space where my students can talk about good behavior and how to make a choices. But I don’t know how or how to get started. Don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are some ways. First one being morning meaning and end of the day meeting I have taught Kenner and second and I even with my second graders, they love morning meaning I soon taught fourth graders and fifth graders and they loved morning meeting.

This isn’t just for K babies, I love my K babies, my kinder babies, but this is for every grade level. It’s important, trust me. So in my morning meeting I love to have students grade each other cuz it’s building that community and it’s showing them how to build those relationships and those skills. And during the morning meeting, you might take some time to model what making friends looks like. If you go on TikTok, you can see middle school teachers doing this talking about how do you create a friend in middle school? What do you say? What do good friends do? Do they ask about this? What do good friends not do? What do they not? Kids need to be explicitly taught how to interact with each other and they are so thankful when you do. I can’t tell you how proud I get when I see my ba, my little second grade babies that have moved on to third or fourth and they are using the win-win skills.

I taught them in second grade still in fifth grade. Like it is amazing. So also maybe talk about conflict resolution. If you are seeing your kids are, you know, arguing about a specific LI specific thing, how can they make that a win-win? Talk about skills and different strategies they can use a model, what it looks like, sounds like. And my final thing, see weapon, my kids love this and they get mad when I don’t do it. Okay, for your listening kids anyways, they love superstar shoutouts. So what superstar shoutouts are totally still is it is I ask for three superstar shoutouts and it’s the end of the day meeting and my kids raise their hand and I pick three kids to call out three of their friends and they say thank you so and so for blank. And then we do a class cheer again.

I’ve gone from kinder all the way to fifth with this. The next thing is three superstar aha moments. So three things they learned today and that’s a great way to kind of review and keep kids accountable of their learning cuz they know that I might call on them for a superstar aha moment. The third thing is superstar apologies. Oh you guys remember when we talked about how to intentionally take time outta your day to ask and answer questions? A safe space? That’s what this is. You’re creating a safe space where if kids did not have that opportunity to apologize, they can and they will use that time. And how cool is that? Now they don’t have to, but I can tell you almost every single day when I do this, I should do it every day. I try to do it every day. I’m almost every day.

But when I do this I always have three apologies and it could be demean to each other, to the class I’ve even apologized. It is game changer. Strategy number four is to be flexible with the needs of your kids. Now remember when you were a kid and you went to school, how did you feel when you went? Now if I’m gonna be completely transparent with you, I felt like I had no control. I felt like I was always a boss around. I was never allowed to talk. I always had to do what other people wanted and I never got to choose for me. Now here’s a secret. The more organized choices and freedom I have given my students, the better they performed. I’m gonna say that again, the more organ organized, it’s not chaotic, but organized choices and freedom I gave my students, the better they performed, the better they performed as a class, the better they performed at building community, the better they performed on assessments.

Now I’m not saying chaos, I personally like structure, chaos and me just do not drive. And but, and remember students do thrive when they have structure. But start asking yourself, how can I give them more choices in the classroom? How can I give them more organized choices in the classroom? This could look like how they work. Are they sitting? Are they standing? Are they laying on the ground? What kind of work do they need to do to show me mastering? Does it have to be doing a worksheet or could they write a poem about it, write a song about it. Um, make a fort or some kind of model. I mean, having your kids and how we rethink education is so important because our kids are brilliant and they have their own unique, amazingly beautiful ways to thrive. And giving kids a safe space to do that is so extremely important.

So I would encourage you to start thinking about how can I give my kids more choices? And again, model, model, model, have clear expectations. And I’m not saying, you know, go tomorrow, tell your kids, sit however you want. I like to bring it up slowly. This is how we set the carpet. If we choose to lay on the ground, like make sure you model, make sure you have expectations, but start thinking about these and how you kind of make education your own. It doesn’t have to be the strict thing, it’s always has been and it it’s not. It’s on its way out. When you start thinking about how we can revolutionize or evolutionize education strategy number five, clear communication. Alright guys, this is the part that I said a lot of adults miss a lot of adults, including me, my first couple of years, a lot of adults miss communication.

Now how I want you to ask yourself, how do I want my kids to communicate with me? Could it be raising their hands? Do you want ’em coming up to your face? I personally get extremely dysregulated when I have a bunch of students putting their hands, fingers, mouths, everything in between in my face. And I’ve taught my kids that I have come out and said, when at the beginning of the year, and if you haven’t done this yet, that’s okay. But I was realizing that I would lose my cool and feel like I had to do the teacher yell whenever I had a crowd of students looking at me and putting their extremities in my face. And I don’t do that. So I talked to them at the beginning of the year and I talked about when they do that, what it might look like when I regulate myself.

What techniques am I using? Am I using heart to home? Am I using, you know, counting four breathing, square breathing, rainbow breaths? Either way, having those boundaries and clearly communicating them with your kids is important because one, well it keeps you sane during the school day. I don’t know about you. Second, it shows kids how they can articulate their discomfort to adults. Remember our kids learn so much from watching us. So if you are there talking about regulating and keeping your boundaries and then they see you regulate yourself when you are upset or dysregulated, that is huge. And what I noticed as other students were coming in and my class and they were pretty triggered or dysregulated by things. And so as a class model what that looks like, what does it look like when I feel upset or these extreme or these feelings? And how do we overcome that?

How can I articulate when I’m thinking and feeling to an adult or to my friends so that way we can still be respectful. Let students feel like they have a control or they have a say on how they wanna be communicated with. And you are creating a space for your kids to be free and feel validated. Seeing heard, like no trusted. And it’s huge guys. It’s huge. All right, I know this one went pretty deep. I hope you found this helpful. I would love if you can share this podcast with another teacher bestie so we can share the love. If you found any of these tips helpful, send it over to them. Tell ’em which one you found the most helpful. If you incorporate every single step I mentioned, you are going to be blown away by these results guys. So you’re gonna have a self-run classroom and the classroom is going to be that one that everyone raves about. If you found this helpful, like I said, share it with your teacher bestie. Remember, we are stronger together. Take care. You know I love you. I’ll talk to you soon. Love Helen.

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 out of 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 socials to let me know you’re listening. As always, remember that we are stronger together with all the love in the world. Sona, aka, the present teacher. See you next time. Teacher bestie.

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!

    Relevant Links:

    Establish Clear Rules and Expectations

    One of the first strategies to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to establish clear rules and expectations. Establishing clear classroom rules and expectations from the beginning is one way to keep your classroom organized and reduce distractions.

    Communicate expectations clearly with your students, using positive language rather than focusing on the negative. Outline acceptable behavior for all learning activities, including how students should speak to one another and how work should be completed. Explain the consequences of breaking rules, such as spending time in time-out or the natural consequence, so that students know what to expect if they do not follow instructions.

    You want to ensure you are being consistent and fare. One way I like to introduce procedures is by introducing the procedure to my class. Next we talk about what it looks like and sounds like when you do it the right way. Then I have someone model the wrong way to do it. Afterwards I have my students practice the procedure until they model it nearly perfectly.

    A common consequence to students not following procedures is to have them practice it until they get it right. This is a great way to be fare with high expectations without being the grumpy stressed out teacher. Overall, this is a great way to improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher.

    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!

      Set Up Positive Reinforcement Systems

      Another way to improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher is to set up a positive reinforcement system. As I Jen Sincero (Author) says:

      “What you focus on you create more of.”

      Jen Sincero

      That couldn’t be any more true in the classroom. Encouraging positive behavior in your classroom through reinforcements is a great way to keep students engaged and motivated. When students see that you focus on the positive more than the negative, the less likely they are to draw negative attention.

      Rewards can be both physical, such as stickers or other small items, or verbal, such as praising the student for good work. I like to use scratch and sniff stickers on my super improver wall. Or another positive reward system are love calls (a positive call home) and love notes (positive notes). 

      Keep these rewards simple and attainable to encourage students to continue their good behavior. Flexible seating is another way of reinforcing positive behavioral choices, as it enables students to make independent decisions while learning.

      Encourage Good Behavior with Open Discussion

      Another way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to create an open dialogue between students and teachers. 

      This can be done in many ways. For example, utilizing your morning meeting as a time to review expected procedures is a great way to encourage good behavior. Stopping the class to point out when a student is doing an outstanding job, or even doing a love call are great ways to encourage good behavior in the classroom.

       I personally like to have my students model our expectations with me and even ask questions and make them better. All of these examples are a great way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher.

      Be Flexible with Student’s Learning Styles and Needs

      It’s important to remember that not every student learns the same way, just like no two teachers are the same. That’s why another way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to incorporate different learning styles in the classroom.

       When possible, be flexible with your students and be willing to try out different styles of learning. Incorporating a choice board on how your students show proficiency or master in a skill is a great way to attain this. Including choices that allow your students to draw, write, speak, act, or even create mastery are all great ways to incorporate different learning styles. Click here to read more about incorporating choices into the classroom. 

      Taking into account each student’s needs and preferences can greatly help manage disruptive behavior and power struggles while also helping to create a more productive learning environment.

      Provide Clear and Effective Communication Methods

      The final way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to have clear expectations when it comes to communication.

      • How do you want your students to communicate with you?
      • What does that look like?
      • What does that NOT look like?
      • What do students do if they feel stuck or need help?
      • How should students communicate with each other and other staff members?

      All of these are great questions to consider when it comes to effective communication in the classroom. 


      Overall there are several ways to improve classroom management as a first year teacher. You can:

      • Establish clear rules and expectations
      • Celebrate positive behavior
      • Have open discussion on what good behavior looks like
      • And being flexible with learning by providing choices

      All of these are great ways you can start improving classroom management as a first year teacher.

      Categories: First Year Teacher, New Teachers, Teacher Self-Care

      Unlock the Secrets on How to Find Joy as a First Year Teacher with Emily Person

      Have you ever struggled with how to find joy as a first year teacher? You start off the year with your teacher sparkle strong, and each day is a new adventure. Yet slowly, but surely that passion slowly begins to fade.

      Each day, little by little, your joy begins to fade. Days turn into weeks, turns into months. You might even ask yourself things like:

      • How do I get my teacher sparkle back?
      • I’m just not passionate about teaching anymore.
      • Why does the teaching profession feel so negative lately?

      But what if I told you it didn’t have to be that way? In this week’s podcast episode I interview Emily Person from Teach Your Joy, and we talk about all things Joy!

      So if you are a new teacher looking to find joy as a first year teacher, grab that cup of coffee and let’s get started!

      Connect with Emily!

      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!

        Listen to the podcast:

        Subscribe to the Podcast:

        How to Find Joy as a First Year Teacher in the New Year
        Emily (00:00): Just be true to you. Like if I, if I had known what I know now and be like, Hey, like you’re gonna be successful, it’s going to be okay, but be true to you. I feel like my first year teaching would’ve gone a lot smoother had I have, you know, known that. Um, and that it’s, it’s okay. Like it’s, you’re gonna make mistakes and that’s okay. We’re gonna work through them. But just, I would say be true to you. Be authentic. Helena (00:27): 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 emotional learning, and teacher wellness strategies, you know, that impact you wanna make in the classroom. We’re gonna make it happen here. Helena (00:49): Hey teacher besties. I’m here with Emily from Teacher Joy and I am so excited to introduce you because she is an amazing person inside. Now I’ve gone live with her a couple times on Instagram and I’m so excited for you to meet here. So welcome Emily. I’m so glad you’re here. Emily (01:05): Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. Um, I was telling you earlier, this is my first podcast interview, so I’m so excited, um, to get to know all of you and hang out today. Helena (01:16): Yeah, thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to get to know you more and I know the listeners are excited to hear more about how we can incorporate joy into our day. So do you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and your journey in teaching? Emily (01:30): Absolutely. Uh, so hi, my name is Emily person. Um, you can find me at Instagram at Teacher Joy. And I have very, very interesting teaching career. So I um, was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas and I actually went to school to become a doctor. Um, it shocks a lot of people when I tell them that. Um, but uh, once I took my mcat I realized that that wasn’t for me and I started teaching in Kansas and then I met a boy in Texas. So I moved to Texas for their alternative certification program in Dallas. And I taught um, for three years in Dallas. And I started teaching in 2019. So if we do that math, my first year was when Covid hit and uh, last year I, or no, this school year I actually moved to sch a different school district. So I’m closer to home and I teach second grade. So, and then for three years I taught at an all boy school, which also shocks a lot of people. . Helena (02:31): Yeah. What did you go to? What did you wanna be a doctorate in or what were you studying? Emily (02:38): I was, I wanted to be a pediatric intensivist, so working nice. Yeah, so really, really sick kids. And I originally got into it cause I wanted to build relationships with parents in a really tough time in their child’s life. And most of the time in medicine you see people for a short period of time and you can’t build that relationship. But when they are in a really tough spot you get to build those relationships more. But I realized that that was probably gonna be a very sad career path and I like teaching so much more. Every job that I had ever had leading up to college was with kids in some capacity. So that’s why I chose teaching . Helena (03:15): So when did you decide, or when was the moment that you decided that teaching was the, the path you wanted to go to? So you were taking your exam, realized it wasn’t for you, and then what kind of made you lean towards teaching? Emily (03:28): So it’s kind of a really roundabout way. When I graduated college, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to take a gap year between graduating from college and then taking the MCAT so I could have a year to study. And I did and I was working as a pediatric scheduler so I scheduled speech therapy and occupational therapy services and I really hated that job. You were sitting behind a desk all day long. I didn’t have the best boss and I just knew I needed a way out. And so what had ha ended up happening was when I wanted to get outta that job, I didn’t know what I was going to do. So I became an avid tutor and a para at a middle school and it was when I was there that I was like, oh these teachers, like I really like what they get to do all day long. Emily (04:16): I thought it was fun, I wanted nothing more. This is gonna sound crazy to all the teachers out there. I wanted nothing more than to be able to grade papers and make lesson plans and hang out with kids all day long. Like it looked like fun and I was having fun doing it. So it was at that point that I was taking my MCAT and was like, maybe I could be a teacher. Like that could be possible. And at that time there were a lot of teachers that I was working with that you know, told me that there were other avenues to becoming a teacher. I had no idea that there were alternative certification programs or graduate programs where you could become a teacher. Helena (04:51): Yeah. So glad you became a teacher because now I get to hang out. Yeah. Um, so it’s funny you say that because when I was in high school I was kind of like a assistant that was kind of, they didn’t allow free cl free classes per se. So I was go to my high school teachers and I would do grading for them and I had so much fun and now I kind of, eh, I have a love-hate relationship with some grading like essays. No thank you. But I kind of enjoy it now and I enjoyed it back then so that’s kind of funny you say that. Mm-hmm . Um, so how was your first year of teaching? What was your experience like? Emily (05:29): It was rough and that’s putting it lightly. I mean I didn’t do traditional student teaching, they just, I did some observation hours over the summer at some schools in Dallas and then you have one month of training and they teach you everything they can in that month like, and it was wild. And then they stick you in a classroom and they’re like good luck. So my student teaching, I was teaching as a teacher alone in a classroom teacher on record and I just had no idea what I was doing. It was insane. And then on top of that it was an all boys school that was an up and becoming school and it was a lot . I would stay late. Um, I worked 30 minutes from like I was 30 miles from the school. So essentially I would, I commute was 30 minutes in the morning and then an hour to an hour and a half home on the way back. Emily (06:23): So what I would do is I told myself I was beating traffic by staying till seven o’clock at night and then I quickly realized that in 12 hours I would have to be back and start all over again. And I did that. I wanna say for the better part of that whole first semester of me teaching and I wasn’t getting anything done. I thought I was being productive. No, I was not it, it was a lot. I wasn’t expecting student behaviors. I thought that when you teach like it’s like oh sweetheart, it’s okay. And I quickly learned that I could not be as soft as I thought I needed to be, especially with the classroom of all boys. And then we come back after break and I feel revitalized, like I’m feeling good. I got to go to Ron Clark. I was leaving at a better time, still late but not, you know, seven o’clock at night and then March happens and I’m feeling so drained and I was almost thankful when they said we were staying home. I was like, oh, I don’t have to go back. . Helena (07:20): That’s rough. I mean, yeah. So question about the staying late. So it’s kind of funny how we think we’re being productive and then we end up not being productive. What did you find yourself working on things and then when did you realize that okay, maybe what I’m working on isn’t really that important or things that I actually have to get done? Emily (07:41): Yes, that’s a, that’s a good question. So I found myself looking at lesson plans and then trying to find anything I could on T P T or I would make these random centers that I thought was so cool at the time that I thought were so cool. At the time when I really wasn’t doing much, I would either talk to coworkers, we would go look for curriculum together like upstairs we had um, a math resource room and I was like, ooh, we can use this next week and we can use this. It was a bunch of random things or I’d find myself cleaning my room just for it to get destroyed the very next day. And it’s from that experience that I’ve learned some things that I use in my classroom now to help me with that. But man, it was anything and everything that was not productive. I was not grading papers, I was not writing lesson plans. I was looking for resources that I would probably never use or buying resources that I would never use. I look back at my t p t like purchases now and I’m like wow, we never opened that once. Helena (08:37): Yeah, I’ve done that too. I’m guilty too. Um, so how was it teaching in an all boys school? Um, cause now you teach in a regular school, right? So you can kind of the before and after. Emily (08:48): Oh yes. Uh, the all boys school was wild. Teaching is wild in general, but I just want want you to take your rowdiest so all the teachers out there, take your rowdiest five boys and multiply that times 10. No one sits down. We were, we did a lot of just movement all day long. Like kids need movement anyway, but it’s exacerbated when they’re all boys. Like no one sits at the same time. Everyone’s always up asking questions. uh, this is when I learned that whole brain teaching was gonna be my very best friend. Um, everybody in the all boy classroom, you would think that they would be rough and tough because they’re all boys. No, you get ’em all together and they are the most sensitive bunch you could ever see in your entire life. Like if one starts crying, the other starts crying and they, they’re wonderful but they would rush through things and you’d have to be like, no, I need you to do it this way. Emily (09:45): I learned the power of an exemplar for everything that you do and just it, it was a lot. So a lot of movement, a lot of energy. We would wrestle on the carpet all day long. Like my first two weeks of school at the all boys school were always going over routines and procedures, which is good teaching anyway. But when I came to this school, I had it planned out for the first full week. We were gonna rehearse everything. We were going to get these routines down pat within the first three hours of school everything was done. I was like, I don’t know what we’re gonna do for the next two weeks. Like I have all of this planned out and you’re doing great. I was like, you guys sit and listen The first time that I ask like I’m convinced that the girls balance the boys out and the boys balance the girls out. And that’s why everybody looked at me like I was crazy when I said I worked at an all boys school. Helena (10:34): Yeah, I can’t imagine I love the boys in my class but they’re definitely rowdy so I can’t imagine having all boys. There was one day where I had nine boys and one girl and I was like, yep, no thank you. I can do this. So when I saw you worked at an all boys school school I was like, oh my goodness, . Emily (10:50): And I don’t know how I did it for so long. I mean part of the reason is that I looped with my second year class. So that was a big reason why I stayed. But I don’t know, I, I grew to really love it and I do miss those boys. Like on occasion I’ll look back at photos and I’m like, oh man, I really, I really miss you guys. But I love being closer to home now and that um, it’s probably gonna be my, my biggest piece of advice to anybody is if you are commuting really far for school, like if it’s, if you can try to find something closer because that has allowed me to leave at my contract time and like I’ve had so much more energy this past year simply because my day is an hour shorter and my commute is like more than cut in half. Like 75% of my commute is gone. Helena (11:39): Yeah. Wow. Yeah, I was commuting too from Pecos to where I live now and that was an hour and 15 minutes but that was the second year of Covid so we only went back in like March of that year. So thankfully it was only three months but I don’t, those of you that are doing it now, I don’t know how you do it cause I listened to a lot of podcasts but that was pretty much what got me through mm-hmm . Um, so you have a business called Teacher Joy and I was curious as to what started the whole passion for incorporating joy into your school day or into your day? Emily (12:14): Yeah, uh, it’s a good question and it goes back to that job that I hated . So I love the word joy. It is probably my favorite word on the entire planet. Um, and when I was working at that job sitting behind a desk answering phone calls, I was like, there has to be more to life than this. Like there has to be something that gives me fulfillment and gives me joy. And at that point I like things just started happening. So I was at the grocery store one day and someone had that I knew was in line in front of me and they were um, the young life director for our city and I, they had asked me if I wanted to come back to be a young life leader, which for those of you that don’t know, young life is a ministry where they lead high school kids to Christ essentially is what it is. Emily (13:02): So you hang out with young life, you hang out with high school kids and you are simply just hanging out with them and it’s a lot of fun. And I was like okay. And that brought me some joy back into my life. Like it gave me some purpose. And then a short while later the gymnastics gym that I had done gymnastics at had worked at Pryor quit, had called me when I was at work at this job and they’re like, Hey, we love it if you could come back twice a week and coach the kids that you loved, like the, the kids that are five and six are my favorite age to coach gymnastics, , they’re so much fun. So they had asked for me to come back and I was able to set the parameters of that and I just realized that like things were coming back into my life that I had given up that brought me so much joy. Emily (13:43): And I had made an Instagram post and the caption, it was on my personal Instagram, was talking about chasing your joy. So I told everyone that I was gonna chase my joy and that they should chase it back with me and I did the a hundred days of happy and all these things. So when I became a teacher I saw all of these teachers have Teacher Grahams and I was really stuck on a name. I wanted it to be an alliteration. And I was like, oh fantastically first. And I was like, no, that sounds too much like fantastically fourth. And I went back and forth and then it struck me. I was like, oh I could just replace Chase with teach and it can be Teach Your joy, which has now confused some people cause it sounds like teacher joy. So they think my name is Joy. Emily (14:22): I’m like, no, that’s not it . But um, and from there it’s just kind of morphed into this beautiful thing of like, oh I, how do you bring joy into the classroom or on Fridays? My favorite question to ask my students during morning meeting is, what are you saying yay about today? And I’ve always believed that you can turn any day into a holiday if you try hard enough. So just choosing things to be happy about and finding that joy in teaching because I also realized at that that point that I mean teachers have, I feel like have always kind of been this way, but it’s been heightened cuz of social media we’re just being so negative about things and I was like, I could be the one that makes a difference , you know, if I can just make a difference in one teacher’s life, like that would be a success to me. So that’s, yeah, a long-winded answer for that. But Helena (15:10): No I love that. That’s such a great way to come up with a name for your business and a mission too, which is so powerful. So when you go back to that first job you had and you were having a hard time finding joy in your life or it wasn’t a very joyful place to be, what did that look like for you? What did, how did that lack of joy represent in your life? Emily (15:31): Oh, absolutely. Uh, that’s a great question. I, there were lots of mornings that I would wake up and just cry. Like I didn’t wanna go to work. I know that sounds dramatic and it probably was, but I was probably honestly really depressed at that point in my life. I would wake up at the very last minute, so I would have to be to work at eight 30. I would wake up at 8 0 5 and just get ready as quickly as I could and go to work. And I wanted to leave as quickly as I could. Uh, it was very monotonous. Like I would sit at my desk and just not do work. Like I couldn’t physically get myself to do work cuz it just, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference. And that sounds so bad, like , you know, but it was, it was draining and nothing at that point brought me happiness. Emily (16:17): So I would go to work at eight 30 and then I would get home at five 30 and I would either sit on the couch and do nothing like just disassociate from that job or sometimes I would just go straight to sleep because I was so, so tired. So nothing, I didn’t have a hobby, I didn’t have anything that I enjoyed and it was just super monotonous and I really, I was not very happy and very positive. Like it’s funny now people are like, your positivity is contagious. And I was like, well I’ve worked really hard to make it that way because that job just sucked the life out of me. And it’s kind of funny now I look on social media and people that are in the same position, like I relate to their internet memes about like their job. Cause I’m like, oh I’ve been there and I’m glad that I got out. And that always, that always shocks people, right? Because I say I’m a teacher and they ask me like, oh how is it? And I’m like, teaching saved me from a really depressing situation. And people are always shocked when they hear that. So cuz now I, I wake up excited to go to work every day. Like even on my worst day of teaching, it’s never as bad as what I experienced in the corporate world. Helena (17:25): It’s amazing how when we experience, you know, the tough times, it makes us appreciate when we have something good in our lives. And I think that story, you know, sums that up perfectly. So if you were a teacher and you weren’t sure if, what does it look like or what do you often see teachers experience when they don’t have joy in their teaching life and a good indicator that they need to start practicing or chasing the joy in their teaching career? Emily (17:52): First of all, I love the way you just phrased that , that was fantastic. I, to me when I see that and I see it at my school and I’m hoping that people don’t connect the dots here, but when I see it in teachers, it’s when they come to school and the first thing out of their mouth is when do we get to go home? Or it’s just something negative, like I just don’t wanna be here today and I get it right? Like teaching is hard and it’s hard work, but what I want more teachers to just start their day with, it’s just something positive. Even if that is, I got a breakfast burrito today and that really excites me. Or maybe that’s, I got to go get coffee today. And that really excites me. Like let’s start there. Like let’s not start our day on a negative note. Emily (18:36): I’m really big on like starting the day with something intentional. So unintentional word and usually mine is joy . It’s like, I’m gonna choose to find joy today. And, and some days that’s harder than others. Like we all know that like you and I both know that like some days are just really harder than others. So it would be the first thing that I see. And then the other thing that I see is those teachers showing up right at the time that it starts and that’s fine. Like I get there early but like rushing in the door or like they’re not prepared for the day and I attribute that too, like they are just so stressed with everything that’s going on that they can’t even like, like stay on top of everything. So I would say that that’s what it is. So the first place that I would think that everybody needs to start is finding something to be joyful about. Emily (19:22): Just one, one small thing. Um, and then what I also think is that people will look at me and see that I’m positive about things and they’ll say things like, oh that’s like just fake positivity or it’s toxic positivity and I never want that because I never want to paint the picture that teaching is sunshine and rainbows because it’s just not. I know that it’s not and I have tough days just like everybody else, but what keeps me going is remembering where I came from. So like that awful job that I had, you know, reminds me that like, oh it’s, it’s not, it can be worse. Like it could be a whole lot worse . Helena (19:59): So how do you find that separation between that toxic positivity and being positive with intention? Emily (20:06): Yeah, absolutely. I will let myself, so if I have a bad day, I let myself feel that and I’ll even let my coworkers know like when I’m having a bad day and they can see that in me so that way they know like I’m human but then I always follow it up with something, you know, positive that’s happened so that way they can see that like, oh, like she has hard times too. At the beginning of this school year, my team was just going through it like they have some really big personalities in their class that are really hard and make their job a whole lot harder than it needs to be. And one of my teachers said to me, man, your kids are always so well behaved and you’re always so positive. So now I human with her and I go to her and I’m like, hey, like this happened today but I’m choosing to see it from this perspective. Emily (20:51): And then I also, you know, will help teachers out. Like if they come to me with a problem, sometimes I’ll send them like a TikTok of a behavior strategy that I’m like, oh this might work for you. And she goes, oh I’m gonna try that. Like for example, there was one teacher I, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but she had these Jenga blocks and she was talking about how she had this Jenga tower of all of her students. She goes, this is our whole class. And then she would say, oh when someone talks at a turn I have to take away this block and then I have to take away this block and until eventually the tower falls. And she said Oh but this is our foundation of the kids that are always doing the right thing. And I had sent that to the coworker of mine that was having just a really tough time at the beginning of the school year and she was so thankful that I had sent that to her and was you know, trying to help her out in that capacity. So my reach of finding your joy does not stop on social media Helena (21:38): . Yeah, I think it’s so powerful too how you set time to like honor the process and honor the hard things that happen in life instead of just freezing past it. And I think what I agree with you that toxic positivity is just pretending everything’s positive and there are no problems. Whereas what you do is you are human with the people you interact with and you show them there is hard times but there’s ways to overcome them and I love that. Emily (22:05): Yeah, absolutely. Thank you Helena (22:07): . Yeah, absolutely. So if I were just starting off as a teacher and I’m having a hard time incorporating joy into my day, what would be, you said some of the first things you could do is to find something joyful to start your day. What are some things you’ve done in the past that um, incorporate or you start off your day with joy? Emily (22:29): Um, the first thing that I’ve done is I have worked really hard to do this is waking up early and doing something for me. And a lot of times that’s just having coffee in the quiet. Sometimes that’s working out, sometimes that’s journaling, it just kind of depends. But I wake up every day now at five and from five to six that’s my time. I used to say that was gonna be my business time but I just don’t think I’m the girly that can get up at five and work on my business from five to six. It’s just, it’s just not me. So I do something for me in the morning and then other times that’s me going to go get a cup of coffee in the morning on my way to school or I give myself something to look forward to. So if I know it’s gonna be a tough day, I’m trying to think of a good example of that. Emily (23:15): Like on map testing day, I hate standardized testing, I just hate it with the passion. I will give myself something to look forward to in the middle of the day. So sometimes that’s like lunch from my favorite place. Again, we look for those small things. So maybe it’s something like give yourself little checkpoints to go through. Cause I asked my dad, uh, this is all over the place, but I asked my dad one time how he got through it when he was in the military cause that was really hard. And he goes, well I played a game with myself. I just said, can I make it to the next hour? Can I make it it to the next hour after that? So like finding incremental ways to be positive throughout the day and then bringing joy into the classroom so your students can sense when you don’t have joy in what you’re doing. Emily (23:57): Like they can sense when you’re stressed and they can’t learn in that type of environment. And that’s often when you’re gonna see those behaviors Cause they’re like ah, her guard’s down like I know . And so what I did is I found ways to make teaching more fun for myself and I found ways like if I enjoy doing it, the kids are more than likely going to enjoy learning it. So one of those things is we have a bunch of call and responses that I do in my classroom. It keeps the kids engaged but it also keeps me happy and it keeps us on like a routine and a schedule. So like for example, before we start any lesson I will say, when I say reading, you say lesson reading, lesson reading lesson. And the kids have come to really like know that that’s happening and they really enjoy it. Emily (24:43): Or I celebrate the kids for big and small things and that turned into my students celebrating each other without me having to do anything. So like we have this harmonious environment that I created simply because I needed joy in my day. So I would say find that one thing that brings you joy and do that. If that is um, a brain break that you’ve created, do that. If that’s putting gifts in your Google slides then do that. Like it gives your kids something fun to look forward to. Um, like just, and that comes with knowing your craft, right? Like I didn’t do that my first year teaching cause I didn’t know what I was doing and I sure as heck didn’t do it my second year teaching. But the last two years I’ve really found those things that bring me joy in the classroom and I do those things. Helena (25:32): So what would you do, going back to your example of calling out your students, what are some things you would do to call out your students to make them feel, you know, seen heard and to celebrate their win? Emily (25:42): Oh absolutely. So they love to show off their work. That is a big deal to them. So originally what it was was I was shouting at the kids that got done in the correct amount of time. I’m like, yeah, we’re working really hard, we’re being productive cuz we had a lot to get through during the day. And then it turned into, hey my work, I’m really proud of this, can we do a celebration? And so I would celebrate their work and how hard that they worked. I also had a really tough personality last year and so whenever they just had a phenomenal day, like I was like man so-and-so has been the most incredible listener today. Let’s celebrate them or do the trick that Brian Midler talks about and that is giving a reward because of that one student. Like so-and-so had a great day today so we get five extra minutes of recess. So that’s where it originated from. So celebrating really awesome behavior, celebrating when someone uses like a good social emotional skill. So we made a compromise at recess one day and I was like great job, you know, um, working with a win-win situation here. And they just naturally celebrated each other. Like when I say good job, that triggers in their brain, oh we gotta celebrate them. And they really, they really love that. Tell us. So Helena (26:56): What is, oh sorry, what is your kids celebrating look like each other? Emily (27:01): Yeah, so we have two class chants, and I learned these one I learned from my old school and then the other one I learned at cheer camp. That is my biggest hack. If anybody was ever a cheerleader, the Colin responses that I use are from cheer camp and nobody knows that until now. . Um, so the first one we say this is our most popular and that is G O O D J O B. Good job, good job. Hey. And you say it fast and it takes ’em a while to catch on to that one. But they really love it. And then the second one is, we are so proud of you. We are so proud of you. Hey hey . And they love it. And something that started just in my own classroom has now morphed into they do it in specials class. Like I came back, my kids came back from specials one day and the art teacher goes, how did you get them to celebrate each other like that? And I was like, it’s taking a lot of practice but they do it . So yeah, that’s Helena (27:59): A hard skill to get your kids to celebrate each other so much that they do it without you. That’s phenomenal. I love how you incorporate to your personality and just your experience and being authentically you by bringing in cheerleading into teaching. And that’s a great tip for any teacher out there is to incorporate themselves into their teaching because I think that’s a great way to incorporate joy. Emily (28:22): Mm-hmm . Oh absolutely. Just be authentically you find that one thing that makes you, you and I pretty sure I got that phrase from a podcast one time when you know you’re building a business, they’re like, find that one thing that makes you you like, you know, every morning I will more than likely give you a coffee cheers on Instagram cuz coffee is one of my favorite things and that’s something that I grew, you know, to really love. Now a lot of people do it so , I mean I didn’t start it by any means but that was something that I was like, ooh, I could do that. So just find that one thing and like maybe you are not a teacher like me and you don’t have, I don’t wanna say all that energy but maybe you’re just more of a calm teacher. Find the thing that is you. So maybe I, I mean I don’t know what the best example of this would be, but I saw a teacher, their attention getter was not them saying a lot of things back to them. It was okay if you can hear my voice take a deep breath. And I was like ooh, I love that. Like it calms them down like that’s fantastic. Just find the thing that you can be authentic to and work with that. Helena (29:25): Yeah. And I feel like when you first start out, at least for me, I was not authentically myself. It was so hard because I was so busy and even I heard you say that you switched schools. Mm-hmm , I feel like switching districts and schools and grade levels is a lot like your first first year of teaching all over again except you have a little bit experience but not able to authentically be myself. At least my first couple years of teaching. Was it the same for you? Emily (29:52): Oh absolutely 100%. I think my biggest pro and con of starting my teaching Instagram, my first year teaching and it wasn’t very good and I stand by this phrase sloppy progress is still progress . But my first year teaching I wanted to try everything. Like my, my classroom management style changed it seemed like every week or every other day almost cuz like, ooh these things are so good. But that’s when I quickly learned like, oh I can take the pieces that I like, ditch what I don’t like and it’s okay if it changes and evolves over time. And it’s not until this year my fourth year teaching, but really truly like my first year all over again teaching that I’ve just kind of figured myself out. So I would say it takes a lot of time and it’s not going to happen overnight at all. Yes. Emily (30:41): Because I’m definitely still overwhelmed at this new school. I was telling my boyfriend the other day, I was like, yeah I really do feel like I’m a brand new teacher all over again because no two schools are created equal. And I tell people that all the time. I had posted a real not too long ago about me being happy in the classroom and about how your mindset is a lot of how you can be happy in the classroom and that did rough a couple feathers. They’re like, yeah, well not if I’m being gas lit at school. And I was like, yes, I totally understand. Like no two schools are created equal and I never want to paint that picture that they are so mm-hmm Helena (31:21): . Yeah. How, what are some ways that you can work on your mindset when it comes to creating joy? Emily (31:29): Oh absolutely, yeah I do. I also love gratitude. I can see my bullet journal sitting right here and every morning I also do the same thing with the gratitude. And I will look sometimes on those really tough days, I will look through my lesson plans and I will see what is something that I’m excited to teach today. What’s something exciting that’s going to happen? Maybe it is, um, p t a is bringing me lunch today and that’s gonna get me through the day. Um, maybe it’s, I’m just gonna take five minutes in the morning to just meditate before work on that one word that I’m focusing on for the day. The one or two words. So I’m like, ooh, I’m gonna intentionally find joy today in what I’m doing or maybe I’m gonna plan something after work that I is finding like that I’m gonna find joy in when I get home. Emily (32:18): So that way I’m keeping something positive in the front of my mind, even if going to work is going to be really hard that day. And what I’ve learned is when I do that, even on the toughest days at school, like even when I don’t wanna go, I equate it to going to the gym. Like when you don’t wanna go to the gym, you’re always happy that you went. I’m always happy that I went to school cuz sometimes some kid will say something so I don’t wanna say off the wall and crazy, but maybe they’ll say something so funny or so sweet or maybe they’ll draw me a picture and I’ll be like, oh, I’m so glad I came to work today. I also will keep, um, I keep a stack of cards that I really love that I’ve either been given from parents or students that I’ve drawn it and I saw somebody put this on a ring and it’s called a, a blessings ring. You can call it whatever you want. Maybe your gratitude ring and you can flip through those and you’re like, oh this is my, this is my why. People will say that all the time. Like, go back to your why that really does help. I know that sounds woo wooy and it’s like, no, it’s not gonna help. Like what if Johnny today is jumping off a chairs and it just makes my life so difficult. But like go back to that like why did you become a teacher And it, it really is all about your perspective. Helena (33:25): Yeah, absolutely. So off that note, why would you say you’re a teacher and why do you continue to teach Emily (33:34): ? I love that question. Uh, I don’t wanna give the answer to everyone’s like, oh cause I wanna make a difference. I mean, I do wanna make a difference, but I am there for two reasons. I, I wanna be there for those kids. I could very well possibly be the happiest eight hours of their day because I dunno what they’re going home to every single day. When I was coaching gymnastics, our boss at the time, she said this might be the happiest hour of that kid’s week. And I take that back to teaching. I could be the happiest part of their week. I don’t know what they go home to. And I also became a teacher because I wanna help other teachers. I want them to be able to find that joy in teaching. I want them to see that there is joy to be had. Emily (34:23): I want students to see that there is joy to be had just in life. And I feel like that’s the best avenue that I can do it through is through teaching. Cause like these are young minds, like the future of the world is literally in my classroom . And if I can teach them to love each other really well, then they’re gonna more than likely be better off. Like when they graduate from high school, I know it’s probably not the best answer, but really to make a difference. And people ask me if I have any aspirations to go higher up in teaching, like to be a coach or to be an administrator. And it always shocks. And when I say that I don’t like, I hear teachers that have been in the classroom for 20 or 30 years, I’m like, I dream to be like that. Emily (35:00): Like I want to have all of these class pictures of kids and that could change, but I wanna have like all of these class pictures. I want to be in the classroom for a long time. I love what I get to do. Like it makes me the happiest. I feel like my personality gets to really shine when I’m teaching, but just to create a better future. I don’t want teachers to be unhappy in the future. I want teachers to be happy and I want these kids to be happy. So it’s probably not the best answer, but that’s, that’s what I really like. What Helena (35:31): Keeps no you’re, yeah, your why is really empowering and I love how you’re so passionate about helping other teachers find joy too. So yeah, Emily (35:39): Well it’s, it just makes me sad, right? Like I see all these teachers on social media and it just breaks my heart cause I’m like, we have a teacher shortage, but how on earth are we gonna get more teachers if we’re gonna continue to dwell on the negative things? Like I wanna fix those negative things, but I also want more teachers in the profession and I am, I’m just one person so I can’t do it by myself. But if I can help one teacher see that like there is happiness to be found, maybe not in the first school that they find or maybe in their first year of teaching, but like it can be possible then I, I really want that for them. Helena (36:15): Yeah, absolutely. So, um, if you could go back to your first year teacher self, what would you say to yourself? Emily (36:24): Hmm. The first thing I would say is don’t give up. And it does get better. And that every year is different. And I think to my teacher self, I I would tell her not to be so hard on herself. There were, I could not tell you how many conversations I had with my principal at the time of like, am I gonna get fired? Like, I thought I was just gonna get fired. And I think that’s cause I was on a probationary certificate cause that’s what they give you when, no, it was not a probationary certificate. It was an intern certificate and was only good for one year. And I was like, man, this class is so rough. Like what if I can’t be a teacher after this? Like everything that I’ve worked for is gonna be gone. But I would say don’t be so hard on yourself and just be true to you. Like if I, if I had known what I know now and be like, hey, like you’re gonna be successful. It’s going to be okay. But be true to you. I feel like my first year teaching would’ve gone a lot smoother had I have, you know, known that. Um, and that it’s, it’s okay. Like it’s, you’re gonna make mistakes and that’s okay, we’re gonna work through them but just I would say be true to you. Be authentic. Helena (37:35): You’re gonna make like first year teacher me cry cause I’m like I need you to hear that too. So thank you for saying that. Um, so thank you so much for this because your joy is definitely contagious and I know I learned a lot about how I can incorporate joy. We’re recording this during break, but going back into the new school year, um, if I were wanting to follow up and learn more about you, um, where could I find, find you? Emily (38:04): Yes, absolutely. You can find me on Instagram at Teach Your Joy. So that’s T e A c h Y O U R Joy and that’s my handle everywhere. So it’s also my email too. So Teacher if you wanna know more about me, but this has been so much fun. I love this. You’re gonna make me wanna start a podcast now, . Helena (38:27): You should. You definitely should. It’s a lot of fun and the listeners are amazing cuz you get, you know, amazing people that message you so grateful for them. Emily (38:35): Love it. And then I can I ask you a question? Helena (38:38): Absolutely. Emily (38:39): What are you saying yay about today? Helena (38:43): I am saying yay about being able to create a business or work in my business where I’m helping first year teachers thrive and learn all the hard things that it took me years to learn, um, faster and hopefully not have to make those mistakes and to mindfully show up instead of showing up at the end of the day feeling disassociated and burnt out and feeling like they’re not a good teacher. And that’s what I’m saying too, is every day that I get to show up and help other teachers is a celebration. So. Emily (39:16): Hmm. I love that. Helena (39:17): , what, what are you celebrating today? Emily (39:20): Oh, what am I celebrating today? . I am celebrating my first successful podcast interview. This was, I hope my nerves did not show through on this cuz I was definitely pretty nervous. Um, and I’m also celebrating, this is kind of a silly one, but I recently got an espresso and I bought an espresso pod for the first time and like the coffee is just like 10 outta 10 I recommend. So I’m also first podcast and delicious coffee Helena (39:48): . Sounds like a great one. Well thank you so much Emily for joining us and I will make sure to grab all those links and I will put ’em in the show notes if you’re listening. So make sure to go fall, follow Emily at Teacher Joy on Instagram and all those socials and I will talk to you soon. Teacher besties. Bye. Helena (40:10): 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. 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.

        Discover What Brings You Joy

        In order to figure out how to find joy as a first year teacher, you need to discover what brings you joy. Oftentimes when we get too involved in teaching it can feel like we lose ourselves a bit. We may forget things like our hobbies, likes and even dislikes.

        That’s why finding joy is a lot like a journey and not a destination. So start figuring out your likes and dislikes. Make a list of all the things that bring you joy. 

        Is something not as fun as it used to be? That’s okay! Our interests change with the seasons we experience in life. So pick something new and try that too! Need ideas on things to try? Download this 40 Self-care ideas in 5 minutes or less to get started!

        Download the Free Ultimate Self-Care Guide For Teachers

        Download 40 Self-Care Ideas For Teachers that you can do in 5 minutes or less now by hitting “Download.”

          You can unsubscribe at any time.

          This includes:

          • 40 Self-Care Ideas for Teachers that take 5 minutes or less
          • Habit checker to check off how many days in a row you complete a task.
          • A reflective page for notes.

          Schedule Joy into Your Day!

          After you have figured out what brings you joy, Emily shares that the next step is to schedule something joyful to look forward to throughout your day. This can be something as simple as getting a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop (hello Starbucks!) or reading your favorite book after work. 

          Either way scheduling something to look forward to can really help you get through some of those harder days in teaching. So in order to find joy as a first year teacher this week, try scheduling something on your next work day that you can look forward to!

          Implement Positive Classroom Management Techniques. 

          Another way to find joy as a first year teacher is to implement positive classroom management techniques. Effective classroom management techniques can help you maintain a positive learning environment for your students, leading to increased engagement, higher learner motivation, and a greater enjoyment of the teaching process. 

          As Emily says, “when you make teaching joyful for you, you are making it that much more fun for your students!”

          This can be something like celebrating each other’s wins or using cheer class calls like the Creator of Teach Your Joy does. Either way, incorporating your day with your authentic personality in a positive way is a great way to find joy as a first year teacher.

          Emily Person from Teach Your Joy shares how to find joy as a first year teacher

          Start Your Day With Intentional Joy!

          Have you ever had a day where you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed? And then somehow your students use their magic powers to sense your vibe and seem to make it 10 times worse?

          The same goes for a positive morning. The next way to find joy as a first year teacher is to start your morning off with some intentional joy. Whether it’s sitting in silence drinking your coffee like Emily does, or going for a walk. Give yourself permission in the morning to take at least 5 minutes for yourself to do something that starts your day off in a positive way!

          Don’t Forget to “Human” Too!

          The last thing you want to do is to create “Toxic Positivity.” That’s why it’s so important to feel your emotions as they come instead of pretending everything is okay. So make sure when you have a bad day to give yourself permission to feel those emotions. It’s okay to be human and give yourself that permission to be. 

          Having and feeling your emotions throughout your teaching day doesn’t make you negative. What you decide to do next does. So take some time to feel your emotions and validate them then choose what positive step forward you can take next!

          To Summarize

          Overall, there are several ways to find joy as a first year teacher. Whether it’s discovering what brings you joy again, scheduling it into your day, incorporating positive classroom management strategies, or starting off your day right, we call all focus on making each day a little brighter. Just don’t forget to take some time to validate your emotions and feelings too!

          To end this blog post off I want to leave you with this thought that Emily asked at the end of the podcast:

          What are you saying yay to today?

          With all the love in the world,