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New Teacher To-Do List

Especially for first-year teachers

  • Keep note of your DOE file/EIS number and your employee ID number and make sure you can log in to your Employee Self-Service account on the DOE website. You’ll also need your Employee Identification Number or your EIS number to log into the DOE’s payroll portal, where you can enroll in direct deposit, see your pay stubs and more.
  • Be sure to carefully review and save the email you received from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which records all your current information concerning your New York City license/appointment and New York State certification. Most important, check that it is accurate. If not, be sure to follow the DOE’s instructions right away to correct any errors in the record.
  • Make note of your UFT member ID number located on your UFT membership card or in your account. You'll need it when you call the union or sign up for union events and services.

Staying connected with the union

  • It’s easy to stay on top of the latest UFT news. Sign up to receive UFT emails. Throughout the year, we send email to members about important information, including breaking news and alerts about union campaigns. You’ll also begin to receive the monthly New Teacher Bulletin by email.
  • Sign up for UFT text messages and be among the first to be notified about key information such as pivoting to remote in the event of inclement weather or breaking news. Text: UFT to 86366 from your mobile phone (standard messaging and data rates apply) or sign up online.
  • It’s important that the UFT has your up-to-date mailing address, email address and phone number so you receive important information about your union rights and benefits. You can update your address on the “My Account” tab on the UFT website or in the UFT Member Hub.
  • Connect with the UFT on Facebook, Twitter/X at @UFT , TikTok at @uftny and Instagram at @UFTNY.

Certification and licensing

  • Make sure you’re on track with your certification requirements. If you have fulfilled your state certification requirements or are close to doing so, remember to apply online for your certificate as soon as possible. Processing your certificate will take at least 16 weeks. Log in to your TEACH account on the New York State Education Department website to check on the status of your application and to see if NYSED has requested additional documentation from you. Read more about teacher certification requirements
  • If you have fulfilled your state certification requirements or are close to doing so, remember to apply online for your professional certificate. No certificate is issued automatically! Check your TEACH online account for the documents you need to submit together with your $100 application fee (reduced to $50 if you have a college recommendation). Make copies of everything before you send it in. Mail your packet "Return Receipt Requested" to the New York State Education Department and file the receipt with the copies of your paperwork. Since it takes time to process your application, it's a good idea to complete all your requirements early and apply at least six months before your time-limited certificate expires. Read more about teacher certification.

Rights and benefits

  • You should receive your program for next year by the end of the school year. If you are a probationary teacher, it's important that you have an assignment in your license area; your tenure could be delayed if you teach out of license. Your program should include one preparation period and a duty-free lunch period each day. You should be scheduled for no more than three consecutive teaching periods and four consecutive working assignments (e.g., including your professional period) in a day. Speak to your chapter leader if you have concerns about whether your program follows contractual guidelines. If there is a contractual violation with your program and it cannot be resolved informally, grievances must be filed within two days of knowledge of your program. 
  • All teachers have five preparation periods a week and a duty-free lunch period each day. You should be scheduled for no more than three consecutive teaching periods and four consecutive working assignments in a day. Speak to your chapter leader if your program does not follow contractual guidelines to try to informally resolve the issue or determine if a grievance should be pursued. 
  • As a new teacher, you should be thinking about tenure. First, be sure you know your tenure date by asking your payroll secretary or principal. Next, confirm that your license code matches the subject and level in which you are teaching. In New York City, tenure is granted in your license appointment area, and those pieces of information must match. Learn about the tenure timeline and how to prepare your portfolio at a tenure workshop, which you can find on the UFT events calendar at If you don’t see a tenure workshop scheduled, ask your chapter leader when the next one will be.
  • Are you covered by a New York City health benefits plan but also covered by a non-city health insurance plan of your parent, spouse or domestic partner, or through other employment? During the fall transfer period, you may enroll in the Health Benefits Buy-Out Waiver Program, which allows eligible city employees to receive an incentive payment for waiving their city health coverage. To enroll, log into your NYCAPS employee self-service account.
  • Did you recently get married, have a baby or add or drop eligible dependents? To cover new dependents, update your personal information. Both the UFT and the DOE require you to submit supporting documentation (such as a marriage license) if you are adding beneficiaries. Notify the UFT Welfare Fund by filing a Change of Status Form electronically within 30 days of the event. To notify the DOE, log on to your Employee Self-Service account.
  • Don't forget to designate your beneficiaries. Your designated beneficiary with the Teachers’ Retirement System is entitled to your accumulated pension contributions with interest, any Tax- Deferred Annuity contributions and possibly a death benefit. It’s important to keep your beneficiary information up to date with the UFT Welfare Fund, the Department of Education and TRS as your life situation changes (for example, if you get married or divorced or have children).
  • If you or your partner is about to give birth or you are planning to adopt, you can attend one of the union's free, virtual Pathways to Parenthood workshops to learn about your paid parental leave benefits. Visit our Parental Leave section of the website to learn more about this benefit and to register for an upcoming workshop. 
  • Check the Know Your Rights section of the UFT website for more information about union rights and protections. 

Salary and finances

  • New teachers may qualify for salary credit for prior teaching or related work experience, which can raise their wages significantly — up to 7.5 years of salary credit — bringing them to Step 8B. Newly hired teachers must supply this information to the DOE by indicating their prior work experience on the online salary step application. If you do not submit the salary step application, you will automatically be placed on the lowest salary step, 1A. You must fill out the salary step application within six months of your appointment date in order to receive any retroactive salary step payment. After your application is processed, the DOE will send you a certificate of salary status via email informing you of your salary step and equate (anniversary) date.
  • Enroll in the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) program. It’s a good idea early in your career to start making voluntary contributions to a Tax-Deferred Annuity, which allows you to save additional money for your retirement. Taxes are deferred on your TDA contributions until you withdraw the money as income.
  • Are you concerned about paying back your student loans? The Student Debt Relief Program, an exclusive member benefit brought to you by the UFT, runs webinars every month to inform you about federal loan forgiveness programs and help you navigate your options. The Student Debt Relief Program is exclusively for UFT members to help guide you every step of the way. Register for an introductory webinar to learn more.
  • See the salary section of the UFT website for DOE salary schedules, the current payroll calendar and more. 

Observation and evaluation

  • If you have not yet been granted tenure, you can expect to receive one formal observation and three informal observations this school year. (If you received a rating of Ineffective or Unsatisfactory for the last school year, you will receive one formal and four informal observations.) Half of the required minimum number of observations will be conducted during the spring term and must be completed by June 7. 
  • All your formal and informal observations should have been conducted by June 7. Teachers who are not yet tenured receive a minimum of three or four informal observations and one formal observation over the course of a school year. 
  • Your summative end-of-year conference with your principal or their designee must take place by June 21. If you haven’t had your conference by then, speak to your chapter leader.
  • See the Teacher Evaluation section of the UFT website for additional information about observation and evaluation. 

Professional development

  • LearnUFT courses for Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit are available in the UFT's borough offices and online. Browse the course listings and register. (Remember that you need to begin collecting CTLE hours only once you have earned your professional certificate.)
  • The UFT has a partnership with local colleges and universities to offer reduced-cost master’s degree programs and graduate coursework that can be applied toward a salary differential. Registration information is available at

More union benefits

  • Did you know that the UFT’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) provides short-term counseling at no cost to in-service UFT members by professionally trained mental health staff? MAP is confidential, professional and supportive. For more information, call MAP at 212-701-9620 or email; services are provided by appointment only. MAP also has a 24/7 helpline for UFT members. If you are in crisis, experiencing distress, need resources or a referral, our counselors are available for UFT members 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-UFT-FOR-U.


  • If you’re thinking about transferring to another school, the Open Market Transfer system, which allows you to apply for a position at another school, will remain open until Aug. 6 this year. Visit the Open Market Transfer page on the DOE’s Department of Human Resources website to fill out an application and search for open positions. The vacancies posted on the DOE website change, so it's a good idea to check regularly.
  • If you plan to resign from the DOE, you must give 30 calendar days' notice by submitting a letter of resignation. According to the DOE, any employee who resigns without providing 30 calendar days' notice will be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future.
  • It's a good time to think about contributing to the UFT's Committee on Political Education, or COPE. Your COPE dollars go toward lobbying state and city legislators to shape the laws, budgets and teaching and learning conditions that our members and our public schools need to succeed. You can choose to have your donation automatically deducted from your paycheck. Learn more about COPE and how to enroll
  • Need a form or application? The UFT website has a wealth of useful forms — UFT, DOE and even New York State forms and applications. Go to UFT Forms to access or print forms pertaining to leaves, salary, Workers’ Comp, special education and much more.