New teachers: 5 things you need to know before you start teaching

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As a new teacher or a student teacher, life can be super exciting and filled with promise. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but not everybody can survive the first few years of teaching. However, if you come with the right expectations and mindset you'll succeed and here are my 5 tips for you before you start your first post:


Okay, so I'm not going to patronise you here and assume you think teaching is a bed of roses but if you're not clear what I mean by hard work let me explain. Teaching is busy! Juggling a thousand things busy! It will stress you out by how busy it is and at the end of the day you'll be beyond civil conversation you'll be so tired. Few jobs require you to juggle quite so many things 'at the same time' (other professions are of course demanding but teaching requires all of your brain power at once to multi task nearly all day). Most mornings for me are speaking with up to 30 children at one time (late assignments, homework missing, somebody doesn't feel well etc) AND parents who have arrived to discuss an 'urgent' issue right then. You are in demand all the time by everybody.


Yes it's not 9-5 (if you didn't know that then go back to Go and do not collect $200). You'll be at work from anywhere from 7.00 am and won't leave until after 4 pm (after meetings that is and if you're super organised!) and when you get home you'll probably put in another 3 hours of lesson preparation and marking. Most weekends will be spent marking or creating resources. Sundays will be a thing of the past, left to enjoy over school holidays. I'm not even counting all the time you'll be mentally trying to 'fix that child' in your class (showers seem to be the place where I problem solve!). You're on salary now and there is no 'overtime' so learn to manage your time wisely. 


Teachers are not, on the whole, respected by the community. Parents' expectation will be high if you're at a good school and if you're in a disadvantaged school you'll find it hard to find the parents at all. Education is an expectation for children and that expectation begins and ends with you the teacher. We know that's not correct and it's not fair but that is, sadly, the way society is moving. You'll be expected to work the impossible with students and that's okay but not always realistic. Be the best you can be and let the rest sort itself out. 


You became a teacher so you could have that positive influence in a child's life and make a difference. However, your first few years of teaching will slowly reaffirm for you that you can't save them all. There are children that don't bring lunch, don't do homework, have a bad attitude, turn up late, turn up tired, are over stressed and generally falling apart. All you can do is try your best and remember you're not the only adult in their life, you might be fighting some very challenging circumstances at home. Go easy on yourself. Try your very best and hope the best for that child as they move on to a new teacher at the end of the year. Don't beat yourself up if you feel they didn't achieve all that you felt they could. You may have had a more subtle influence on them than you realise.


It does get easier the longer you teach. Multitasking will be easier and you'll have ready answers for parents with those questions at the start of the day. You'll learn to be kinder to yourself for making mistakes and you'll stress less at the start of each school year. You'll start to build yourself a teacher toolbox of ideas, resources and emotional reassurances that will help you get through each day. Stick with it and ride out those difficult first few years and you'll be in a job you'll enjoy for the rest of your life! Teaching is addictive! Why? Because you do make a difference!

How to get your school to pay for all your teaching resources!

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It's the start of a new school year and you're wondering how you're going to fit all that planning in?

Creating engaging resources takes time and aligning them to the Australian curriculum can take even longer! You might visit Teachers Pay Teachers but why should you spend your own money, shouldn't your school pay for resources?

Did you know that your school can register to become a Teachers Pay Teachers account holder?

Here's how it works:

Step One

Step Two
Click "I'm a Teacher" button and download the handout.

Step Three
Talk to your administrator to register for an account (it's free!).

Just think, no more awkward conversations about sharing resources!

No more expense at the teachers end!

Plus, just think how impressed your administrator will be that you're sourcing the materials for them!

Click here to find out more about Teachers Pay Teachers school accounts.

If your school is interested in purchasing resources, but you are not part of a Teachers Pay Teachers friendly school, then download the TechTeacherPto3 brochure and take along on your Student Free Days to discuss sharing the licence with your co-workers. When you purchase one resource yourself you can get extra licences at a reduced cost so everybody can get their own copy!

You can also visit the TechTeacherPto3 website at

What does it mean to your students to be Australian?

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Australia Day (26th January) is the perfect time to celebrate what it means to be Australian. 

The definition of Australian is

a native or inhabitant of Australia or a person of Australian decent

Our schools are a microcosm of Australian society and, if your classroom looks anything like mine, many students are either born overseas, speak more than one language or dialect or have parents/grandparents who were born in a country other than Australia.

As an expat myself, I see Australia as a land of opportunities and a place my children can live a happy and healthy life and Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate our adopted home. 

So what does Australia Day mean to you and your students? How will you celebrate the lead up to Australia Day in your classroom?

Many teachers say they don't have time for seasonal celebrations in their classrooms due to an over crowded curriculum, however, Australia Day sits so nicely with the Australian Curriculum (ACARA) you'd be crazy not to invest some time in it. Here is the one celebration that ALL your students will participate in first hand!

Foundation Year HASS - How families celebrate events (family events of significance)
Year 1 HASS - Celebrations in the local community (exploring and sequencing)
Year 2 HASS - Exploring local history (places and events of significance)
Year 3 HASS - Aspects of life in the local community (exploring the difference between a celebration and a commemoration)

One text that I particularly love is Meme Fox's I'm Australian Too picture book, as it explore what it means to be Australian in a way that young children can easily understand.

You can listen to an excerpt here...

I've also created some activities to go with the text here

It's particularly important that lots of different ethnicities be shown in art work around Australia Day, so I've included a multicultural image for students to colour (these make great wall displays in a classroom). 

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Some of the concepts covered in the book are a fantastic starting point for discussions about what it means to be Australian.

If you were born outside of Australia, you can still consider yourself Australian

The characters in the book state that they were born within and outside of Australia - yet they are still Australian. Discuss who was born within Australia and outside of Australia. Do they feel Australian? Why? What does it mean to be Australian?

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Your grandparents might have been born outside of Australia, but you're still Australian

The characters in the book go on to state that their grandparents were born outside of Australia and how their life has changed moving to Australia. This is a great time to explore family trees and this makes a perfect homework task. 

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People from all different states and territories in Australia call themselves Australian
For students who were born in Australia and do not have immigrant parents or grandparents, this is the time for them to shine! Where have they lived in Australia? Why did they move to the state or territory they are in now?

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People move to Australia to live for lots of different reasons.

Younger students might struggle with the concepts of war or famine but this book nicely takes you through the immigrant children's lives and how much better they are now. Older students (Year 6) can use this as a point of discussion about reasons for immigration.

"Australia Fair is ours to share"

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Do your students know what Advance Australia Fair means? Do they know and understand the lyrics? I love these doodle pages and have used them a few times to explain difficult concepts to students - they make the perfect colouring page.

You can find all these activities in the What does it mean to be Australian? Activity Pack, based on the book by Meme Fox I'm Australian Too.

My favourite Australia Day Picture Books

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies.

Australia Day 26th January and is a fantastic time to bring a whole country celebration right into your classroom. What is a celebration and how do we celebrate? These questions form the basis of the Foundation Year History curriculum embedded in the new Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). What a perfect time to use real-world experience and bring this exciting celebration into your classroom with some fantastic picture books!

Here are my tried and tested favourite picture books to use in the lead up to Australia Day.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies.

I'm Australian Too by Mem Fox

Mem Fox explores what being Australian means to children across the country, including where they were born and the experiences of immigrants. This book gives a fantastic insight to multicultural Australia and teaches children that 'being Australian' means sharing our wonderful country! 

You can read my blog post on this text here and you'll find a companion pack to it here.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies.

This is Australia by Miroslav Sasek

This is such a fun book with great art work. It covers what it was like to grow up in Australia and looks at places of significance around Australia with each state covered. This book fits beautifully with Year 2 and 3 HASS exploring places of significance.  Students could create cut and paste from magazines to create similar illustrations of life in Australia.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies.

An Aussie Year by Tania McCartney

Five Aussie children play, go to school and explore parts of Australia in this sweet and, long over due, book about growing up in Australia. Use this book explore what it means to be Australian and live in Get students to bring in photographs of their travels around Australia and write a matching piece about why this is their favourite place.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies.

A is for Australia by Frane Lessac

This book is perfect for the start of the Foundation Year when you are exploring the alphabet letter by letter. Travel around Australia and look for places through A to Z. Tie this book to your alphabet exploration each day.

Celebrate Australia Day with these wonderful picture books. Perfect for reading and exploring with your students for Geography or History studies. #techteacherpto3 #australiaday #picture #books