On the first day of school, more than 10,000 Dallas ISD teachers will walk into classrooms full of new students, new challenges and new possibilities. For some of those teachers, being in front of a classroom will be a new experience as well.
With that in mind, the Hub asked Harold Pierce, who has been a Dallas ISD teacher for 11 years, to share a few tips for these teachers entering their own classrooms for the first time.
“As you walk into your classroom on that first day, remember that you are on a journey. This is a marathon rather than a sprint,” Pierce said. “You won’t have all the answers on the first day – you just need to take each day as it comes.”
Pierce, a third-grade teacher at Roger Q. Mills Elementary, an ACE school, also emphasized the importance of preparation. He said that having a plan of what you want to teach, and how, will eliminate frustration. He encourages teachers to implement their classroom management on day one.
“Share your passion and concern, but also your discipline style and expectations of students,” he said.
Managing parents can sometimes be the most difficult part of teaching, he said. Pierce said he sets a consistent way to communicate with parents involving weekly, and, when needed, daily, communications.
“You may be overwhelmed yourself, but you want to avoid having a frustrated parent,” Pierce said. “Get an early start on contacting them and establish a relationship. It’s always better if you find them before they find you.”
How a teacher ends their day can be just as important as how they begin, he said. Pierce urges teachers to set aside some quiet time in the classroom at the end of every day. Take a few minutes to reflect on the lesson and your interactions with the kids and how they responded to you. He has also found that journaling his thoughts and feelings about each day helps keep him centered.
Finding a mentor can help new teachers navigate their first school year. Establish a relationship with someone who shares your passion for teaching and who you feel a connection to, he suggests.
Pierce said he believes that teaching is a calling, rather than just a job.
“Have confidence within yourself, knowing that you have the calling to teach,” he said.