16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher


16 Maddening Things That Only Happen to New Teachers

Going into your first year of teaching? Get ready for a wild ride.

While everyone’s experience is unique, new teachers run into similar roadblocks in their first year. Here are some obstacles often experienced by beginning teachers—and what to do if you encounter them.

1. Buying Way Too Many Classroom Supplies

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

First-year teachers have this energy and motivation experienced teachers have long lost… Your bank account is empty by the first day of school, but it doesn’t matter as long as your students have what they need! Next year will be a different story.

2. Inheriting Old Curriculum

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

Whether it’s a tower of handouts or a dusty bookshelf of teaching guides from the 90s, you will inherit all the old stuff.

3. Being Asked Absurdly Personal Questions—By Coworkers

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

First-year teachers are often objects of curiosity to some of their nosier coworkers. Get ready to be asked a million inappropriate questions from people who don’t need to know your personal life. 

4. Getting Lost

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

Even though the rooms are numbered, the other teachers won’t use them. You may be told you have a meeting in “Pam’s classroom,” which isn’t on any map. Tip: Track the smell of pizza and old coffee grounds to the appropriate location.

5. Accidentally Prolonging Staff Meetings

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

If you’re fresh out of college, used to raising your hand and digging deep into conversations, this is a huge temptation. But don’t do it. Resist the urge to speak, and everyone will be able to go home to their dogs a little bit earlier.

6. Being Mistaken for a Student

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

Young teachers who work with older students are especially vulnerable to this. It can also be a superpower though, as you may find out who the troublemakers are before class starts.

7. Receiving Lots of Unsolicited, Contradictory Advice

Everyone has opinions on teaching. Teachers of different generations, cultures, and educational philosophies will pepper you with advice, expecting it to help. But it’s usually just too much. Do what works for you. Try new things, but scrap them if they aren’t you. You and your gallon of coffee every morning are enough. 

8. Navigating an email inbox that never seems to stop.

Constantly flooded with school-wide announcements, emails from parents, emails from admin, co-workers, students, it never ends. Are we really supposed to respond to them all? No, but whatever you do, DO NOT hit the “reply all” button. You’ll never live it down.

9. Trying to figure out what counts as a PDU

What qualifies as a PDU? Who knows! But just to be safe, record everything you do at work as professional development. Pulling slime out of a kid’s hair, learning the moves to the Cupid Shuffle, and making eye contact with the principal all deserve to make the list.

10 Jamming the Copier

This will happen: You’re the new teacher, and you have no idea you’re supposed to hit it two times on the side, kick it really hard once and THEN press the button. You may have to practice with a veteran teacher to get it just right.

11. Finding Out About the Staff Room Halfway through the year

The first time you find it, you will think you’ve discovered Narnia, as you had to go through a hidden closet in the back staircase behind the third cafeteria entrance to get inside. Try not to be offended that no one told you where it was. Only about ten percent of teachers use it anyway.

12. Explaining Technology to Your Coworkers

Experienced teachers have a lot of valuable knowledge to pass down to the newbies, but operating and troubleshooting technology is usually not part of it. You’ll find yourself helping the people figure out the technology that they’re trying to train you to use. Just go with the flow. You’ll be in their position one day, too.

13. Learning Field Trip Procedures—During the Trip

Didn’t know that you had to somehow keep a head count for 80 students, bring a megaphone, and wear earplugs on the bus to maintain your sanity? You’ll learn it, but only by going through it.

14. Grading on Your Couch… Every. Single. Night.

You will bring grading home every night the first term. That’s just reality. This problem will likely solve itself as your desire for teaching perfection gives way to procrastination, or to falling asleep on your couch at 5:30 pm. Check out these tips to stop taking your grading home!

15. Making New Seating Arrangements Every Other Day

Your teaching program probably taught you a lot about classroom arrangement, but which arrangement is best? You’ll probably try everything, from groups to circles to alternative seating, and just end up putting those kids in rows within the first two days of school.

16. Missing Your Students

All teachers miss their students, but the students from your first year will hold a special place in your heart.

Also Check Out:

16 Annoying Things That Happen to Every New Teacher

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Iris Planchet

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Iris Planchet is a middle school Language Arts teacher. She loves teaching about her favorite books, including House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Outside of reading and writing, you can find her baking, playing guitar, or playing board games with her family.
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