New Teacher Phase: Nervous and Ready

"I feel prepared to teach but I don't know what to do the first day"

Beginning the School Year Successfully: Creating a Community of Learners in the Classroom

Setting up a first classroom is exciting and exhausting work. A wise person once said, "Wisdom is not knowing what to do ultimately, it is knowing what to do next." As a mentor, you will work collaboratively with the new teacher to assist them in understanding what to do next. You will be creating a community of learners between the two of you , as well as assisting them in creating a community among their own students in their own classrooms.

Each new teacher will have different needs based on previous experiences and training. You will be able to focus on what needs to be done next so you can minimize the anxiety the new teacher will be feeling in September and maximize student learning in the classroom this month.

Your new teacher will have questions, emotional ups and downs, and lots of ideas they want to try out this month and this year. You may have to resist the urge to say too much, but rather explore the options with them. Mentoring is less about "telling", but more about "creating" opportunities where your new teacher can discover what to do next. You may be tempted to try and give them everything all at once. Hold back. Try to focus yourself and become a listener. Their will be time to tell and share the many good ideas you have when appropriate. If you hold back, you will give your new teacher time to experience the process while you guide, question, and assist them. This may not be as easy as it sounds, especially in September when there is so much to do.

Discussion Questions

What do we want to talk about when we meet this month?

Invite your new teacher to write down a short list of questions and bring them to your first meeting. Sometimes new teachers don't know what to ask their mentors because they have never done this before. You may use the questions below to guide your discussions throughout the month.

New Teacher's Possible Questions:

  • How do I create a community of learners? What does this mean?
  • How many of my students need support? ELL, IEP, 504
  • What should I do to help them integrate socially and academically?
  • I need help setting up schedules, routines
  • What should I do if a student has challenging behaviors?

Mentor's Possible Questions:

  • What can I do to assist you right now that will help reduce anxiety?
  • How comfortable do you feel with the grade/subject you are teaching and how do you learn best?

Monthly Tips

Curriculum, Instruction, Assessments

  • Log-in and familiarize yourself with Atlas
  • Learn ipass grading system/ set up data (MS, HS)
  • Beginning of year benchmarks and online resources


  • Open House procedures
  • Positive phone calls/ messages home
  • Website, Twitter, Google Classroom, Newsletter, Blog


  • SMART Goals (student and professional)


  • September 11th, NEW Teacher Workshop on IEP's, 3:30-5pm, Nipmuc PDC
  • September 15, Self Evaluations DUE
  • Mandated Online Training DUE (30 days from their hire date)
  • October 15, Smart Goals DUE

Activity #1 Classroom and Behavioral Management Issues

Classroom Routines and Organization

  • Review what your new teacher is doing in their classroom to organize their space, time, and materials. Allow them to share their with you. What is working for them?

  • Share effective systems that work for you for correcting papers, organizing materials, grading student work and giving student feedback. Focus on routines that have saved you time, let them know they don't need to reinvent the wheel. Allow the new teacher to select the ones that fit for them and have that be OK with you.

  • Create a schedule that allows new teachers to talk with other teachers who have great ideas for organizing the classroom and lessons.

Behavior Issues with Individual Students or with the Whole Class

  • Ask new teachers if they are having any problems right now

  • Connect new teachers with other teachers in the building who have creative ways to avoid behavior problems

  • Discuss appropriate disciplinary actions for situations that arise. Discuss the difference between students not completing homework and students who are seriously disrespectful to others or to the new teachers
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