Should You Tell Students You’re a First-Year Teacher?

Title with paper airplane

Here’s one of the frequently asked questions that comes up when I speak to new teachers.

Q: Should I tell students this is my first time teaching?

A: No.

Q: Won’t they know anyway?

A: They might, so don’t actively lie about it. Just add this to the long list of personal questions you try to avoid completely, which also includes questions like “How old are you?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” and “Is that a tattoo?”

Q: Uh oh. My students have figured out that I’m a new teacher. Is that a total disaster?

A: No. Your main goal is to project the type of authority that makes students feel like they are in capable hands. This is always a work in progress, even as an experienced teacher. If students know you’re figuring all this for the first time, it can become more difficult to project this authority, but it won’t be impossible. Or, who knows? Maybe you’ll get lucky and have students who are generous-spirited and eager to help you learn how to teach them.

There are also a few tricks that can help new teachers give off less of a rookie vibe, whether your students know it’s your first year or not.

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