The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide by Julia G. Thompson
According to numerous reports, almost half of the new teachers who will begin teaching this year will change professions within five years. What makes the first years of a teacher's career so challenging?
Education is a complex profession involving extremely high stakes for everyone concerned. Even with excellent training, new teachers often find the reality of managing a classroom overwhelming. I began writing advice for new teachers after watching a first-year teacher struggle with a photocopier. I realized that something as simple as making handouts had the potential to ruin a teacher's day. In The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide, I try to offer practical solutions to the daily problems that today's teachers have to manage. I want the advice that I offer to be realistic, sensible, and, most of all, useful.
If the first years of a career in education are so difficult, why would anyone choose to teach?
The first-year teachers that I work with are remarkable people--professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated. Perhaps the most significant characteristic that I have observed in beginning teachers is an idealistic sense of purpose. More than ever before, I see hard-working novice teachers who are committed to the success of every one of their students. These new teachers inspire all of us with their belief that they can change the world one classroom at a time.
You are a practicing classroom teacher. How have your experiences as an educator shaped your beliefs about the needs of new teachers?
I'm proud to be a classroom teacher. Working with students every day allows me to have firsthand insights into the issues that affect education professionals in twenty-first century schools. Like many other veteran educators, though, I had to learn much of what I know about teaching by trial and error. This is the book that I needed as a first-year teacher. I remember all too well how awful it felt when I didn't know what to do when things went wrong. Worst of all, I had no idea where to look for the answers that I needed. I have tried to fill The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide with practical information that will give novice teachers the self-assurance they need to be successful.
Discipline problems are often cited as a leading cause of stress for educators. How does this book help teachers with potential discipline issues?
Discipline problems can have a devastating impact on students and teachers alike. No matter how carefully planned a lesson may be, if students are disruptive, they just can't learn. Learning how to manage discipline issues is crucial to a teacher's peace of mind. I have devoted whole sections to preventing problem behavior and dealing with discipline challenges in the classroom, as well as a “troubleshooting guide” for the 25 most common classroom problems. In addition, two sections focus on building strong relationships with students and helping students relate well to each other. Finally, there is a section on how to motivate students to be successful. Directly and indirectly, suggestions for coping with discipline issues permeate almost every page of the book.
The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide is a big book. Were you worried that first-year teachers would be discouraged at how much they have to learn?
It is a big book. However, education is a very big undertaking. The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide is not meant to be read in sequence from beginning to end. Instead, the book is divided into seventeen smaller sections so that teachers can choose the topics that they need to review at any given moment. There's a detailed table of contents and an even more detailed index so that it's easy to find helpful solutions, ideas, and strategies. I love it when I meet readers who show me their dog-eared copies filled with sticky notes and highlighted passages. Those teachers have personalized the material so that it is meaningful and helpful. I hope all readers of the book do that.
If you had only one piece of advice for first-year teachers, what would it be?
Be proactive! Transform challenges into opportunities. Countless studies indicate that teachers are the most significant factor in any student's schooling. Don't ever doubt that your impact on your students will be far more powerful than you can ever realize.
From the Back Cover
Everything Beginning Educators Need to Survive and Thrive in the Classroom
USE THIS BOOK FOR PD! Features a free downloadable guide for PD trainers
The completely revised and updated edition of the best-selling First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide offers beginning teachers a wide variety of tested strategies, activities, and tools for creating a positive and dynamic learning environment while meeting the challenges of each school day. The book is filled with valuable tips, suggestions, and ideas that help teachers with everything from becoming effective team players and connecting with students to handling behavior problems and working within diverse classrooms.
This new third edition covers changes in K12 education over the past five years as well as the basics of teaching and classroom management that have made the book a trusted resource for new educators.
Updates include information on how to
- Teach in an overcrowded classroom
- Find teacher freebies and create a productive classroom environment on a budget
- Use digital tools to design and deliver innovative, engaging, relevant lessons
- Help students prepare for standardized tests and other assessments
- Handle "homework push-back" from parents and guardians
- Help students learn to assume responsibility and become self-disciplined learners
- The book includes a bonus DVD with video instruction on key topics as well as downloadable versions of the worksheets and much, much more.
Praise for The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide
"This useful guide gives new teachers a wealth of practical information, resources, and tools. Whether she's helping readers to handle tough classroom challenges or coaching them on how to develop a professional demeanor, Thompson's experience shines through on every page."
Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion and Practice Perfect
"To get through your first year of teaching you need a friend, a trusted colleague, a mentor. You need someone who is there for you, believes in you, and cheers you on! Thompson is that friend, colleague, and mentor you can to turn to anytime you need."
Andrea Honigsfeld, EdD, professor, Molloy College, New York
"This book will be your most treasured resource as a new teacher! You will turn to it often for the comfort and inspiration you need as well as to sustain the passion you brought to teaching in the first place. The practical tips on collaboration, instructional strategies, freebie resources, student engagement, behavior, and more will empower you every step of the way."
Pat Wyman, founder, HowToLearn.com; author, Amazing Grades