Ms. Bracey’s Survival Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of 1st Year Teaching


Top 3 Do’steacher photo


  • Be prepared, a first impression is definitely a lasting impression. If your students do not remember anything, they will remember their first day of school.  Make sure you have your lesson plans ready (allow flexibility), practice your welcome with a friend or relative, and know your classroom rules.


  • Set the tone for your classroom. The first day of school/the first week of school is where you set the tone and expectations for your classroom.  Students need routine; they will pick up on whether or not you mean business.  Don’t get this confused, you do not have to be the meanest person alive to reach your students, but you do need to be firm in your expectations, rewards, and consequences.  You will have the opportunity throughout the year to ease up on your students.



  • Give yourself room to grow! Do not worry if you cannot reach everyone on the same day at the same time; every child learns in his or her own way. Build rapport with your students.  Having a relationship with them, will be your guide on how to reach them.   Some days will be challenging, make you want to scream, BUT, there will be days that your students will teach you strengths you never knew you had.  As you are challenging their growth, they will encourage you to do the same.  Remember, what you are doing is bigger than you!! Those little faces, your “kids”, need you.

My Top 3 Don’ts

  • Do Not Worry. Some days your perfect lesson plans won’t go as planned or may not be that perfect at all; be flexible, your lesson plan should merely be a guide, not what you are depending on to get through that topic or content. Give yourself room to improvise if needed.


  • Do Not Stress. There are deadlines that must be met; administration will need data, parents will have questions, students will need you; however, do what you can, and do not stress about what you cannot. Keep your work life and personal life separate.  Leave what happened at school there and focus on your health and sanity.  Grab a journal, write yourself refreshing and positive notes, vent but not without a solution.


  • Do Not Give Up. When the challenges arise, remember you were called to be an educator; you are more than qualified, and nothing ever grows in a comfort zone. When you are uncomfortable, you are about to find new strength you did not know existed.  Walk in faith, not by sight.

If you would like a hard copy, please send me an email. Thank you!-Andrea

Published by Andrea Pickens and Associates, LLC

Greetings: My name is Andrea S. Pickens; I have several years of experience in education and youth development all of which include teaching and leading youth in under-resourced and economically disadvantaged communities. I believe that it is critical to the academic and over success of our youth to have proper academic and social-emotional support. This support is often found in schools and after-school programs that intervene by providing tutoring/enrichment services and are equipped with effective teachers and leaders. My belief is that each child can learn, but not all children learn the same; diversity and equity is crucial to youth development. It is my mission as an educator, entrepreneur, and servant-leader to equip and empower others in youth development and education to reach our youth beyond the secondary classroom. Yours in Education, Andrea S. Pickens, M.Ed

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