Whether you are a seasoned teacher coming from a different grade level or subject, or you are a new teacher fresh from college, the first year of elementary math can be a bit intimidating… IF you let it! Elementary math can be a super fun and unique experience!
I remember my very first year, and although I was excited, I felt a bit unprepared. Over time I began to quickly fall in love and learn so many things I now would like to share with you! So, here are a few things you need to know to survive your first year of elementary math!
#1 Find a Mentor
The very first thing I suggest you do is to gather a support team or befriend a mentor who can help you get to a smooth start. Who knows, they could become a lifelong friend at the same time!
This person can help you learn the routines, planning schedules, and tricks they already know about this area. They can help you navigate this new territory and be a lifeguard for you during this first year. When you find this person, appreciate and love them as they should be for all of their help now and in the future.
#2 Learn the Content
Learn the content front and back. Refresh your memory on anything that seems blurry or confusing. Make sure you are transparent with your fellow partners if you don’t understand something. You can easily find resources to help you teach the subject better.
The biggest part about this is making sure you are teaching the correct math concepts for each standard. The teachers in your grade may come together and give you some helpful instructions and tips during this learning stage as well.
#3 Take Advantage of ALL the Resources
Resources are out there for a purpose; to be used! You don’t have to do things the hard way and create your own resources or spend hours looking for the best material in old books at the school. Yes, there are many great resources the school provides! BUT you can find customizable and unique manipulatives and worksheets in other places too! Such as Teachers Pay Teachers.
My shop offers a plethora of amazing elementary math material, from centers to year-long bundles that offer multiple worksheets per standard! These are a MUST-have for any math teacher as well!
#4 Create Relationships With Your Students
As with any classroom, you need to be sure you create a healthy, confident learning environment for your students. This means establishing trustful relationships in your classroom from the start.
There are some really great Social-Emotional Learning lessons you can utilize in your classroom to help set these connections easily. These can help your students be confident in their work, their ability to learn and improve, and the classroom as a whole. SEL lessons are vital for any classroom despite the subject or grade.
#5 Have Fun, and Don’t Be Afraid Of Mistakes
As anxious as you may be going into the new journey, try to relax and simply have fun! Be yourself and set an example for your kiddos by being over with mistakes. If you mess up a problem or they catch you mess up, laugh about it and teach them it’s okay to make mistakes as you learn.
This is a great lesson for students and for us. Everyone may slip up every now and then. I know I’ve had my fair share of oopsies in front of the class! We laugh, we rework the problem, and continue learning.
Overall, enjoy every moment of this new year! Grab the resources and work smarter, not harder. Create teacher friendships and be a support person for them too. And make the most of the year!