Qualities and Habits of Novice Teachers

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Everyone starts somewhere. Experienced teachers don’t start knowledgeable and savvy—they gain experience and they learn their own lessons. We explored in a previous post about the qualities of veteran teachers, but we want to also recognize the teachers who are just beginning their career. There are plenty of positive qualities about novice teachers. These qualities don’t simply disappear as these teachers gain classroom experience. Like teachers, these qualities grow and develop as they continue to teach and interact with students. It’s also not to say experienced teachers don’t have these qualities or that novice teachers don’t have the qualities of a veteran teacher! But specific qualities are unique to certain points of time during a teacher’s career. Here are some of the wonderful qualities of novice teachers.

Energetic

Anyone about to embark on a new adventure would be eager to get started! New teachers benefit from the energy that comes with starting a coveted career. They are enthusiastic about tackling each day and bringing their best selves into the classroom. Although they will become more familiar with the daily hardships of teachers, novices have the energy to endure, struggle, and find solutions. The responsibilities and challenges aren’t intimidating or grueling, especially for new teachers who are eager to experience it all.

Persistent

Novice teachers will quickly discover the challenges and hardships that they have to contend with when they begin teaching every day. They will also discover that not all problems will have simple, quick solutions. But thanks to their energy, new teachers are also very persistent. They are persevering, may be to a fault, to become better teachers. If confronted with a challenge, such as a difficulty to grasp a particular subject to teach, novices are determined to devise ways to overcome such hurdles. It is a hunger they have to improve as teachers.

Unconventional

As the new teachers on the block, novices bring new perspectives and ideas. A veteran teacher may be used to doing things a certain way or using certain solutions. But amateur teachers can bring creative solutions and methods. They aren’t simply innovative though. They naturally have different and unconventional viewpoints because they are just starting their educational career. They aren’t simply informed by their classroom experiences as teachers, but they draw from the different trials they’ve had throughout life to inform their decisions as educators.

Sympathetic

One of the most admirable qualities of novice teachers is their sympathy. They can connect to their students, in part because they are eager and determined to. But being sympathetic to their students happens easily for new teachers. They relate easily to their students because of their lack of experience as teachers and their abundance of experience as students. Often, novices will reflect on their times as students and see similarities in experiences between themselves and their students. They will think about how they, as students, interacted with their own teachers. And from those memories, they better define how they want to be as teachers.

These qualities also suggest the common habits that many novice teachers share. Similar to veteran teachers, here are two habits practiced both inside and outside the classroom.

Puts extra consideration into overcoming hurdles

When amateur teachers encounter a challenge they didn’t foresee, they will put a little more care into devising a plan to overcome said challenge. In a 2015 Canadian research study that analyzed the experiences of new teachers, the teachers found that the subjects they were most comfortable with were actually the most difficult to teach to their students. One teacher, who felt fluent in mathematics, needed to take the time to understand why some students struggled to understand concepts that came naturally to her. Conversely, another teacher who wasn’t comfortable with mathematics took extra time to research and prepare lesson plans, thus becoming more confident in teaching the once uncomfortable subject. Ultimately, novices are eager to find solutions to early career challenges.

Constantly tries to find new ways to engage with students

Arguably, the best part of being a teacher is educating and interacting with the students. Connecting with the students can also be the most difficult task. Novice teachers will take the time trying to figure out how to create a stronger link with their students. They want the students to like them and their teaching style, so novices will frequently interact with students to understand their audience. It’s also not unusual for new teachers to research pop culture and local customs in an effort to improve communication and relatability. The main challenge amateur teachers will face is finding a balance between relating students and being a leader/disciplinarian to them.

Teachers are usually novices only a few times during their careers, which is why their qualities and habits are pretty special. What are positive qualities you notice in novice teachers? What common habits do you think novice teachers all share? Let us know in the comments below!