Student Expectations for Beginning Teachers

What to Realistically Expect of Your Students

High school teacher calling on student in classroom
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Beginning teachers often set the bar high when it comes to student expectations. As a new teacher, it's common to want to be portrayed as a competent teacher who has control over their classroom. Here are a few suggestions to help new teachers make realistic and achievable goals for their students.

Maintaining a Well-Behaved Classroom

Often new teachers struggle with feeling confident about managing their classroom. They feel that if they are too nice, then their students won’t respect their authority. It is possible to create a warm and friendly classroom and gain your students respect at the same time. By allowing students to make simple decisions, like which assignment to do first it will improve your chances of cooperation and give students a boost in their confidence.

However, there is going to come a time when things do not go as planned. Make sure you are prepared ahead of time with "emergency plans" and "time fillers" for these unseen moments. When children are not given a task, they tend to take it upon themselves to create chaos and that is when you get classroom interruptions.

Managing Your Classroom

All new teachers want their classroom to run smoothly. One of the biggest challenges new teachers face is dealing with time management. It may take weeks or even months to learn the school's policies and procedures and for the students to get used to your own routines. If you can't remember what school policies are (regarding lunch count, library books etc.) then ask a fellow teacher.

Don't just assume that your students know simple rules or remember common school procedures from the year before. Devote a lot of time the first few weeks of school to review school procedures and implement your own. The more time you devote to learning these routines the easier it will be later in the year. Be careful not to overwhelm your students, establish a simple routine that they can handle. Once you see your students feel comfortable with your procedures and routines then you can expand or alter them.

Common Student Expectations for the Classroom

  • Follow classroom rules
  • Be on time
  • Be prepared for class
  • Be considerate and respectful
  • Show respect for school property and students
  • Hand in assignments on time
  • Wait to be dismissed
  • Use an inside voice
  • Actively participate in class discussions
  • Stay seated during classroom activities and events
  • Help each other
  • Work quietly and follow directions
  • Raise your hand before speaking

Creating Successful Students

Every teacher wants to see their students succeed. New teachers may feel the pressure to get through the curriculum and may forget to learn their students' abilities and interests. Before barreling through the content, get to know your students so you know what to expect of them.

Practice Self-Management Skills

n order to build confident, independent students, practice self-management skills early on. If you plan on having students participate in learning centers and small groups, then they need to practice working independently. It may take weeks to build independent workers. If this is the case, then hold off on working in learning centers until your students are ready.

Keeping Things Simple

When you keep routines and independent work simple, you are helping students build their confidence and self-management skills, which in turn will help them become successful learners. As students become more established with these skills, you can increase the work load and variety of academic materials.

"Great Expectations: Good News for Beginning Teachers", Dr. Jane Bluestein