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BCSD veteran teachers offer advice for first-year teachers

Veteran teachers offer advice for first-year teachers.

Published on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020

hands of a teacher placing a sign that reads "Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons" on a shelf

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

Berkeley County School District is welcoming more than 100 new teachers to the district this upcoming school year.

Aug. 31 is the first day of school for teachers. To encourage and support new teachers as they prepare for their first year teaching, some of BCSD’s veteran teachers offered bits of tips and advice to help get rookie educators through the year.

The words of wisdom vary, but many teachers suggested similar tidbits: find a teacher who can be a mentor, be prepared for lessons to not go as planned and work on building relationships with students.


  • “You get to leave a lasting impression on the lives of your students. When they've left your classroom, make sure you've done everything you could to help that kid be successful. They might not say 'thank you', now, but down the road, they'll always remember how you made them feel and that you genuinely 'cared' about them.” –Crystal Peace, P.E. teacher at Berkeley High


  • “Find a fellow teacher that you can laugh, cry or vent too. Set a schedule with getting papers copied, grading papers or lesson plans done so it doesn't interfere with you having a life outside of the classroom.” –Brittany Berg, first-grade teacher at Westview Primary


  • “Build a good relationship with your grade level team, you will rely on each other throughout the year for planning, assessments, and ideas. Morning Meetings with your students are key to building a strong foundation in the classroom.” –Colleen Bendig, kindergarten teacher at Philip Simmons Elementary


  • “You really are your own boss when it comes to your teaching style and reaching the students in front of you. Be ready to take charge. … Teach to your strong points, but continue to strengthen your weak points to better round yourself out as a teacher.” –Greg Jasinski, AP Literature and LA and English teacher at Cross High


  • ”Take the time developing and teaching effective classroom procedures in the beginning; this will save you time later this year, as well as in future years. Same goes for quality lessons.” –Katie McFarland, ESOL teacher at Sedgefield Middle


  • “I have found my textbook materials and online materials very helpful and useful. It is like having everything in one place. So that is helpful when it comes to planning and time management. Especially for first-year teachers who do not know where to look for or go for materials at this time. Overtime these materials will be revealed to teachers through professional development and from others who have had success.” –Lane Rouse, teacher cadet and ninth and 12th-grade geography teacher at Timberland High


  • “Teaching is a roller coaster ride with ups and downs but by the middle or towards the end of the school year it becomes calm. You never really know what any day will hold and that it is okay to struggle as long as you continue. There is a wonder about teaching you can only get through experience.” –Nicole Whitfield, eighth-grade science teacher at St. Stephen Middle


  • “Remember your why. Why did you want to be a teacher to begin with? When things get hard, focus on your why.” –Katelan Urbanic, second-grade teacher at Sangaree Elementary


  • “It is okay to make mistakes. We all do it. Even the most veteran teachers will admit that lessons didn't go as planned or they didn't handle a situation how they probably should have. What is most important is that we admit we made a mistake and that we try again. Never give up on your students, your team or yourself.” –Meghan Lewis, fifth-grade math and science teacher at Berkeley Intermediate


  • “Focus on things you can control (inside your classroom), and intentionally invest in building positive professional relationships from day one with EVERY front office (guidance, nurse, budget, instructional coach, etc.) and custodial worker. They can be so helpful.” –Ben Lipari, JROTC teacher at Cross High
Monica Kreber