New Teachers: 8 Essential Skills to Learn

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This summer, Teaching Channel will be helping beginning teachers countdown to their first year of teaching. We’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take before the first day of school.

Before getting a classroom of my own, I spent two years student teaching in the classrooms of veteran teachers. I had gone to professional development sessions and seen experienced teachers share their amazing practices. But I had never seen a beginning teacher in action before.

Often times we learn from master teachers, but it can also be helpful to see what the beginning teacher experience looks like. In this New Teacher Survival Guide video playlist, we get to follow beginning teachers as they experience their first years of teaching. With the help of mentors, we see these teachers focus on eight essential first-year skills:

1. Planning: In this video, High School English Teacher Nicole Rubinetti plans a lesson on writing personal statements for college. English Department Head Meg Murray helps Ms. Rubinetti come up with a specific and measurable objective and then they plan exactly how she will support her students to meet that objective.

2. Classroom Management: Strong classroom management is the foundation of every smooth-running classroom. Yet it can be tricky for new teachers to master. Watch beginning teacher Lilia Vreeland develop her classroom management skills with the help of educational consultant Jackie Ancess. Ms. Ancess lays out seven classroom management tips that will be helpful for all new teachers.

3. Differentiation: Now that you’ve got a handle on planning and classroom management, it’s time to tackle differentiation. In this video, watch High School Chemistry Teacher Laura Gurick plan and teach a lesson to meet her students’ diverse needs.

4. MentoringTeaching can be incredibly challenging. In this video, we see the difference that mentoring can make. Second-year teacher Asia Franks opens up about the struggles of being a beginning teacher and her involvement in a mentoring program that supports new teachers. It’s inspiring to see Ms. Franks receive both actionable suggestions and emotional support from her mentor.

5. Technology: There are so many ways to incorporate technology into lessons that it can seem overwhelming. Watch a first-year teacher receive suggestions from technology coach Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. In addition to recommending ways technology can increase student engagement, Ms. Nussbaum-Beach shares the importance of educators building a virtual personal learning network (PLN).

6. Parent-Teacher Conferences: Interacting with parents takes a whole different skill set than teaching. Learn how to build effective communication skills by watching a beginning teacher receive suggestions from a parent relationship coach.

7. The Formal Observation: Observations can be nerve wracking, especially as a beginning teacher. Calm your nerves by watching this video and learning tips for each step of the observation process: pre-observation, observation, and post-observation.

8. ADHD in the ClassroomIn this video, Special Education teacher James McKinstry learns tips for helping students with ADHD. Though these tips are specifically for students with ADHD, they can help all students stay focused.

Watching these videos gives insight into the new teacher experience, but also act as a testament to the power of mentoring. Through their collaboration with mentors and coaches, these new teachers are supported while they grow their practices.

What did you learn from this series? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.

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