In this season of university graduations, I thought about the advice I'd give to new teachers embarking on their careers:
1) Nothing you learned in education school will prepare you for this. No matter where you did your M. Ed. (or your B.A. if you had an education major at your college), the only experience that will truly prepare you for standing in front of a classroom of kids is...standing in front of a classroom of kids. Doing academic course-work alone isn't sufficient to make a good te..., and alas, most education programs are too heavy on theory and too light on practice. Completing your degree isn't the end of your education--it's the beginning.
2) Find yourself a mentor teacher. One of the favorite ideas of anti-teacher rhetoric is that somehow all the "old teachers" are burnt out losers who just come to school to collect a paycheck. Wrong. Experienced teachers are the best people to know. They can help you figure out why your lesson isn't working, maybe even give you their tried-and-true lessons if you're really gracious, and run interference for you when administrators are out for blood--or when some kid isn't cooperating. (They've probably taught that kid before, and they know his mom's secret cell phone number. Or better yet, his football coach's cell phone number.)