Your First Year : How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher book cover
1st Edition

Your First Year
How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher

ISBN 9781138126152
Published May 2, 2016 by Routledge
134 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Learn all the essentials for making your first year of teaching a success! In this exciting new book, internationally renowned educator Todd Whitaker teams up with his daughters--Madeline, an elementary teacher, and Katherine, a secondary teacher--to share advice and inspiration. They offer step-by-step guidance to thriving in your new role and overcoming the challenges that many new teachers face. Topics include:

  • Learning classroom management skills such as building relationships and maintaining high expectations and consistency
  • Setting up your classroom and establishing procedures and rules
  • Planning effective lessons and making your instructional time an engaging experience
  • Managing your own emotions in the classroom and dealing effectively with misbehavior
  • Working with peers, administrators, and parents to build support and foster collaboration

The book is filled with specific examples and vignettes from elementary, middle, and high school classes, so you’ll gain helpful strategies no matter what grade level and subject area you teach. You’ll also find out how to make tweaks or hit the "reset" button when something isn’t going as planned. Things may not always go perfectly your first year, but the practical advice in this book will help you stay motivated on the path to success!

Bonus: As you read the book, get even more out of it by discussing it with others. Free study guides for practicing teachers and student teachers are available as eResource downloads from our website (

Table of Contents


Meet the Authors

The Most Special Profession

How to Use This Book

  • Section 1: Before the Students Arrive: Structure, structure, structure

    • Chapter One: Setting Up and Organizing Your Classroom

      • Furniture

      • Materials

    • Chapter Two: Developing Your Procedures

    • Chapter Three: Developing Your Rules

    • Chapter Four: Classroom Management - Preparing Your Mindset

      • Relationships

      • High and Specific Expectations

      • Consistency

    • Chapter Five: When a student follows the rules...or doesn’t.

    • Chapter Six: Lesson Planning and Instruction

      • Lesson Planning - Down to the Minute

      • Instruction - Focus on Engagement

      • But what about curriculum?

  • Section 2: The Students are here…now what?

    • Chapter Seven: Explaining and Practicing Procedures

    • Chapter Eight: Managing Your Classroom

      • Managing Yourself

      • Subtle Steering

      • Direct Redirection

      • Implementing Consequences

      • Individual Case Study

      • The What If Situations

      • Repairing and Rebuilding

  • Section 3: Working With Adults

    • Chapter Nine: Working with Administrators

      • Administrative Support

    • Chapter Ten: Working with Peers

      • Peer Support

    • Chapter Eleven: The Empowerers

      • The Empowerers and Navigating the Waters

      • Finding Your Empowerer

      • What About Everyone Else?

    • Chapter Twelve: Don’t Be Afraid to Repair - Students, Co-workers, Principal

    • Chapter Thirteen: Parents - Friend not Foe

      • The Best They Know How

      • Build Relationships Before You Need Relationships

      • What do I Say When I Call a Parent?

  • Section 4: Continuing to Reflect, Refine, and Grow on Your Journey

    • Chapter Fourteen: Mid-flight Corrections

      • Tweaking - Be Your Own Control Group

      • The Reset Button

    • Chapter Fifteen: Be a Sponge
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Todd Whitaker is a professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. He is a leading presenter in the field of education and has written more than 40 books, including the national bestseller, What Great Teachers Do Differently.

Madeline Whitaker is an elementary school teacher in Springfield, Missouri.

Katherine Whitaker is a former middle school teacher who now teaches high school in Kansas City, Missouri.


“The authors of Your First Year have done an amazing job with this book.  The book presents strategies and ideas in an easy-to-use format.  This book is an amazing tool for ANY teacher needing help with classroom procedures, students, parents, and co-workers!” --Sara Cope, Principal and Former Teacher, BonDeCroft Elementary, Sparta, TN

“Loaded with common-sense best practices, the authors give remarkable insights into classroom management. This book will be a catalyst for helping new educators hone their craft of teaching at any level or content area through the use of proven strategies and reflective questions. Your First Year models equitable instructional practices while giving timely advice through real-life examples.” --Gail A. Epps, Program Manager, New Teacher Induction, Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland

"Your First Year is not only an essential "must read" for new teachers, but is also an inspiring reminder to experienced teachers about the nuts and bolts of a classroom that support learning. The Whitakers have managed to translate volumes of research on effective pedagogy into a very practical and useful book that I imagine will be found in the teacher's library well-worn from constant reference." --Phillip S. Rogers, Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)

"Your First Year is designed to bring out the best in new teachers. It is a great combination of practical application and research-based practices that goes beyond the typical classroom set-up and procedures by exploring how to troubleshoot when things don't go as planned. As a principal, I would want my new teachers to read this book to guide them on their first year of teaching. With the Whitakers' book to guide them, new teachers will be primed for a successful school year, and students will be the winners." --Jayne Ellspermann, Principal of West Port High School, Ocala, Florida and President, National Association of Secondary School Principals (2016-2017)

Your First Year is a book all teacher candidates and first year teachers should be required to read. The sound and practical advice in structuring and managing the classroom is invaluable, and the important interaction tips will help keep more of our young teachers in the classroom. Without a doubt, this book contains the essence to survival and becoming an effective teacher.” –Dr. Charles Kent Runyan, Professor, College of Education, Pittsburg State University

"The advice the authors provide is positive and encouraging, and serves to prevent some potential (and predictable) problems in the classroom. It is also a great review/reference guide for veteran teachers who are seeking to tune up their current teaching practices."--Linda Biondi, MiddleWeb,

"The first year of a teacher's career is really important - new teachers need support and reassurance to start off successfully and to cope with the pressure that year brings. The book is relevant for primary and secondary teachers as the author has worked with his daughters - Madeline, an elementary teacher, and Katherine, a secondary teacher. This means readers have the assurance that the step-by-step guidance is based on experience [...] It is a succinct book and that's perfect for new teachers who will have plenty to do without ploughing through masses of information to find relevant points." - Sarah Brew, Parents in Touch