You Can Do This: Hope and Help for New Teachers
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More About This Title You Can Do This: Hope and Help for New Teachers



“I firmly believe that what will make you a master teacher is not the advice I give you; what will make you a master teacher is that you figure out how to solve those challenges on your own, in your own way.” —From the Preface

As a new teacher you face numerous challenges. Right from the start you must learn how to manage a class full of restless students; develop productive relationships with fellow teachers, administrators, and parents; and design engaging lesson plans that will meet ever-increasing levels of accountability all while building a life for yourself in the process. It can be overwhelming and sometimes you can feel like you’re all alone.

And yet, you came to this profession because you want to make a difference. How do you juggle the demands of the profession and find your own voice, your own teaching style, your own teaching self?

The good news is that you can do this.

In this down-to-earth, inspirational book, bestselling author Robyn Jackson offers encouragement and real-world advice for navigating those difficult years as a beginning teacher. Sharing stories from her own humbling first years as a new teacher, Robyn helps you tackle challenges such as motivating students, planning effective lessons, building relationships with parents, bouncing back from embarrassing mistakes, and finding your own authority as a teacher. She also helps you find success outside the classroom with practical pointers for living on a teacher’s salary and carving out time to have a life of your own. With candor and a good deal of wit, she gently guides you to develop your own teaching style and, ultimately, to find your own path toward mastery.

Robyn speaks to new educators as a trusted mentor, one who knows how to navigate the tricky terrain of “new teacherdom”—and knows how rich and rewarding the payoff will be. If you’re new to the profession or know someone about to embark on a teaching career,You Can Do Thisis the essential roadmap to succeeding as a new educator both inside and outside the classroom.


ROBYN R. JACKSON, PHD, a former classroom teacher and school administrator, is founder and CEO of MindSteps, Inc., an independent provider of workshops, coaching, consulting, and resources for teachers. She is the author of the bestseller Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching and a nationally recognized presenter and consultant who has been featured in the Washington Post, a PBS/Annenberg television series, and Lifetime Television’s Lifetime Live.


Preface ix

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Author xix

1 You Can Be Yourself

Developing Your Own Teaching Style 1

2 You Can Have a Life

Finding Balance 15

3 You Can Smile Before Christmas

What to Do with Bad Advice 41

4 You Can Design Great Lessons

How to Tackle Planning 61

5 You Can Find Common Ground

Working with Parents 87

6 You Can Keep Things Running Smoothly

Managing Your Classroom 111

7 You Can Bounce Back

Recovering from Mistakes 127

8 You Can Get Better

Growing Your Own Teaching Style 141

9 You Can Shine

Distinguishing Yourself as an Educator 161

10 You Can Lead

Becoming a Master Teacher 181

Questions for Discussion 193

Index 199