My Advice to New Teachers

By Terri Pantuso, Secondary ELAR, Preservice Teachers, Cypress, TX:


For new teachers, the best piece of advice I have is never to be afraid to admit that you don’t know all the answers. It’s okay to allow your students to see you struggle with some of your content or not to have all of the answers to their questions. In the joint process of finding those answers together, you model lifelong learning as a positive thing.

I also tell new teachers that they will struggle and feel as if they have failed on numerous occasions. And when they do, that means they care, which means they’re invested in their students’ learning. That investment is worth all of the struggle.

Finally, I tell new teachers to take care of themselves. I know it can be controversial, but I advise new teachers (all teachers) to get a flu shot, drink plenty of water during the day, and carve out some time in the week that is not centered around planning or grading. This is a difficult job that you really can’t learn until you are actually doing it. We give you all of the content and theory, but once you do the work, you’ll see how difficult it really is. You’ll also see how rewarding it can be, so stick it out for at least three years. And never be afraid to ask for help from a mentor teacher, your former professors, or your professional community members. We are a family. Welcome!