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Setting yourself up for a great year

New York Teacher

It’s September, and there’s a back-to-school feel in the air. Maybe it’s your first year of teaching, maybe it’s your 21st, but there are always ways to set yourself up for a great school year ahead.

Let’s start with attitude. Having a growth, rather than a fixed mindset is optimal. People with a fixed mindset believe you are born with a set amount of intelligence and that’s it. People with a growth mindset believe that we’re all capable of working hard to increase our potential and intelligence. A positive attitude will help you see beyond setbacks.

Create clear objectives for your students that guide your plans.

Be organized. Figuring out your commute, knowing when you will eat lunch and how to best utilize your prep period are key ways to plan your day.

Build and maintain good relationships with students, parents and colleagues. Whether you are new to your school or not, it is important to establish or re-establish these relationships. Create a positive classroom culture. Showing you care, believe in and trust your students will go a long way to creating a successful classroom environment.

Adapt to your students’ needs. Be observant and see where they are having difficulties and what they are enjoying. Maybe your lesson isn’t going the way you planned. Why is that and what can you do differently?

Never stop learning! Explore the professional development at your Monday PD hours and peruse the UFT’s offerings for what may interest you.

Don’t forget to bring fun into the classroom! That can make the difference for all involved.

For help with being organized and finding time for self-care, contact the UFT Member Assistance Program at 212-701-9620 or

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The UFT Member Assistance Program offers short-term counseling and outside referrals to help you deal with a wide range of issues. You can contact MAP by calling 212-701-9620 or by emailing Appointments and referrals are available Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 50 Broadway in Manhattan.