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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Feeling overwhelmed?

September 12, 2011

As the new school year starts, the reality of the classroom really sets in. The kids and their personalities, the mounds of paperwork and homework, and all the careful watching and listening easily adds up to a 50 hour day! I clearly remember how overwhelmed I felt during my first year of teaching.

If you're feeling this way, know that you're not alone! Over on the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) blog, Mary Bigelow provides advice to a new middle-school teacher who is feeling overwhelmed. Her guidance is solid, and is applicable to all teachers who may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

There are reminders for your physical and mental health, as well as advice about prioritizing your planning time with a focus on what enhances instruction. That translates to not worrying too much about your bulletin boards, pacing yourself when it comes to committee work and establishing classroom routines that take some of the burden off the teacher.

Other advice for new teachers:

  • Don't reinvent the wheel but try to use the resources that are available to you, at least for right now. When things settle down, you can go back and create your own.
  • Stay organized! Use clipboards and checklists to help you keep track of things. Work to plan ahead, even if it's only one day at a time right now.
  • Ask for help. Seriously. Don't go it alone! Ask for help.
  • Last, remember what's important! Be there for your students. Clear your head and make a connection with a child. Read a book to your class that you love. Make a child laugh and listen to the sound. You've got all year together, and it will be far more enjoyable for everyone if your classroom is a welcoming, safe place to be.

Many, many more First Year Teacher resources available here (they're great for ALL teachers too!).


Yes! Some good advice here! The beginning of the year does always feel like a whirlwind. My biggest help as a teacher has been guidance from seasoned teachers. I think there is a wealth of knowledge from these more experienced teachers as well as those who have been teaching just a few years. Learning from others mistakes and borrowing effetive management tools to get a handle at the first of the year helps me set the stage for the show to be all about my students and their learning.

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume