1. Having a mentor(s) will making navigating the unusual teaching situation this fall less stressful and make the school year go more smoothly.
This fall will be unlike anything US teachers have experienced before. But not every challenge you face will be a result of the unusual teaching situation. Being able to ask advice of someone familiar with the education system will be key to a successful year. Whether its navigating first-day paperwork, classroom problems, parent communications, or anything else the year brings, you’ll benefit from being able to ask questions and get their insights.

Pro tip: Make sure the person you choose is positive and passionate about teaching. Not sure how to find a mentor? These articles offer tips:

2. You will struggle with classroom management. This will not be you failing, this is just a fact. Every teacher faces challenges with classroom management, often on a weekly or daily basis. The important thing is to arm yourself with resources in advance, so you can proactively adjust your approach throughout the year as you identify what isn’t working.

3. Joining the teacher union is optional. No matter what people tell you, you do not have to join the teacher union to keep your teaching contract or to be a good colleague. There are many nonunion teaching associations that offer liability insurance, legal protection, and other professional benefits, and many teachers choose to join them instead of the union. Do your homework to figure out what works best for you and don’t let ANYONE pressure you into joining any organization.

4. Avoid burnout by pre-scheduling some personal days. Every teacher gets personal days, don’t wait to see if you’re getting burned out to use them. Pro tip: Request a few days off later in the year and schedule your sub at the beginning of the quarter to ensure you’re free to relax, refocus, and remember why you decided to be a teacher.

5. Seek inspiration from other teachers, but don’t compare yourself. This particularly applies to Instagram (you know what we’re talking about!). There will always be better dressed, better prepared teachers who are crazy creative, probably moonlighting as professional artists, and have classroom décor that HGTV would envy. That’s not life for most of us. Be inspired and gain ideas from others’ excellence. Then go do your best and measure yourself against what you know you’re capable of, not those around you.

Good luck new teachers, you got this!