Dear Future Teacher,

Welcome to the greatest and most rewarding career out there! OK, maybe I am biased. Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Maybe you can relate. I used to play school with my younger sister and of course, I was the teacher and she was the student. It was all fun and games until my mother found me writing sentences in a brand-new picture book! You could say I was just REALLY into my job and you know what? Nothing has changed. I am REALLY into my job. I wake up in the morning and I am excited to teach and I want you to be, too. So, with that said, here are my five pieces of advice!

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Building relationships:

This is key. It is important to truly know your students for who they are. Your students will want to come to your class and fully perform if they feel comfortable and excited. Take the time to get to know your students before anything. Find out what excites them, what scares them, what motivates them, their goals, their likes and dislikes, and their goals and dreams. Knowing this will not only help your students become more comfortable in your classroom, but it will help you as the educator prepare material that will motivate them. There are so many new and innovative ways to build relationships in the classroom with your students. I like to start with their shoes. Each student has an opportunity to tell the story behind his or her shoes — when he bought them, where she bought them, who he was with, and where her shoes have traveled. A simple activity like this opens doors and gives you insight into your students’ lives – where they have been, and what they may have gone through.

Plan, plan, PLAN:

OK, maybe not that much, but plan. After you know what motivates your students, plan for them. Being organized and on top of your lesson plans will help you fully think through your lectures and activities before putting them into play. Once you become a teacher, you are working on so many things at once. Do not stress yourself out more. Stay organized, think ahead when you can, and plan the best lessons to excite your students. To stay organized, I keep a personal planner for myself (doctor appointments, hair appointments, lunch with friends, etc.). I also have a planner specifically for school. This is where I track school meetings, conferences, play practices, and so on. Finally, I always keep an academic calendar with me. This allows me to really visualize what a month will look like with my students and it will help you feel more prepared in the long run.


Nothing makes students more excited than trying something new and creative in the classroom. Think about how you can turn your lesson plans into a creative game to engage your students. There is no challenge if you never try! For an example, let’s think about reviewing for an upcoming exam. How do you think you can spice up your reviews to engage and excite your students? I personally love a good old game of trivia. Divide your classroom in half or group students into small teams. Let the students choose team names. Have review questions in your hand and invite students up to battle in a fun game of trivia. I like to play “Family Feud” style with a buzzer or bell in between opposing teams. This will really excite your students and I promise you the outcome is worth it.

Take time for YOU:

AND BREATHE. Whether you are pursuing your first year of teaching or working on your master’s degree, it is important to take time for yourself. Self-care is extremely important and as teachers, we often forget to take care of ourselves while we are taking care of everyone else. What makes you happy? Take a bath, put on a movie, read your favorite book. Do something for you! When you are feeling your best, you will perform your best for your students.

Enhance your impact on students’ lives:

Do you have certain career goals that you still feel like you want to achieve? It is NEVER too late. I believe in taking chances in life when the right opportunity comes my way. Luckily, the University of West Alabama makes it very accessible and easy for you to pursue your career goals with an online education degree designed for your budget and your schedule. For more information on following your career dreams visit here.

This guest post was written by @Fivefootoneteacher. Brittany Sinitch is a 9th grade ELA teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. In addition to teaching, she is a writer, activist and avid user of TeachersPayTeachers.