Here's what I would say to first year teachers:
1. Buy only what you have to: There are SO many things out there that you might feel like you NEED, but try not to go overboard at first. Get a few things here and there, and as time goes on you may see that many of those things you thought you needed at first aren't really necessary!
2. Always have a back up plan: Just like in other areas of life, lesson plans don't always go as well as they looked on paper! Sometimes things just don't go as grand and smooth as you imagined! So, be flexible and be willing to change things up if necessary!
3. Never be afraid to ask: There are so many new things for you to know when you start teaching (even if you have taught before this can apply to starting at a new school!) So, never be shy about asking questions from your fellow teachers for clarity about anything! Most people love to share what they know with others!
4. Find a place to unwind: Especially during your first year, it is easy to get consumed with organizing, planning, grading, etc. at night and on the weekends. But it is so important to leave that stuff at school and have your separate life at home! Remember those fun things you love to do on the weekends and don't stop doing them! Otherwise you will get burnt out very quickly!
5. Make your room inviting: One thing I loved to do was stand at the door in the mornings when the kids were coming in and greet them all by name and with a smile and back pat or hug! It would be so easy to sit at your desk and finish up last minute stuff for the day, but I found the time was better spent making each kid feel welcome and loved the minute they walked in!!
6. Be confident: My first year I was a little too timid in the beginning with the kids, making it easy for them to run all over me! I didn't have the best control of the classroom. It's so important to let them know that you are in charge and you know what you're doing! Give the appearance that you are confident in what you are doing, even when you don't feel like it!
If you have some veteran advice to share, be sure to visit Flying into First Grade to join us!