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Spring New Teacher Series #5: Advice for New Teachers from a 2nd Year Teacher: TaiLi Matheny

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Show Notes:

“At the end of the year, my principal told everyone at our staff meeting that out of all the first year teachers she had worked with, I was the best of the best. It was so good to hear that all of the work and everything I had poured into a very stressful year had finally paid off and that someone had noticed me.”

Can you imagine if your principal said that about you? After all the hard work you do for your students, wouldn’t that make you feel absolutely incredible? 

The story above is something that our guest, TaiLi Matheny, experienced this year. TaiLi lives in Ohio and teaches third grade. She is currently finishing up her second year of teaching. Although her principal named her “the best of the best”, TaiLi sure didn’t feel that way when she first started teaching.

TaiLi was a long term sub on top of being a first year teacher last year, and COVID had cut her student teaching short. Because of this, she felt like she had missed out on a lot of learning experiences as a student teacher. Naturally, TaiLi was really struggling with classroom management.

TaiLi was mainly focused on trying to figure out how to feel confident in teaching the curriculum she was given as well as how to balance her life outside of work. She remembers feeling like she was constantly asking the other third grade teachers question after question after question, and just wanted to talk to someone who knew how she was feeling and could relate to what she was going through as a new teacher.

Arriving early to school and staying late was a norm for TaiLi, only to still feel like she hadn’t gotten anything done. Just like many of you, she felt like she was swimming in her to-do list. At the time, she didn’t know that she needed to set clear expectations and have routines for every part of the day. How could she know? So much of this information is not taught to new teachers.

After listening to the podcast, TaiLi joined the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy last spring. Today she is on the show to talk a little bit about what she was struggling with before she enrolled in the Academy and how the Academy helped her become a more confident teacher. I can’t wait for you to hear her transformational story. 

Whether you’re a student teacher, first year teacher, or fifth year teacher, it can be really easy to get a false sense of being able to handle things on your own when you haven't had very much classroom experience. 

You might think, I can just figure it out myself. I'm smart. I've handled other things before. 

But I think we underestimate how much easier it can actually be when someone who has done this for years, and who's mastered the process, can lay out a plan for you step by step.

Only then does it become obvious that there are areas where you’re working too hard, or maybe you’re causing ourselves unnecessary stress. You just may realize there's a much simpler and more streamlined way of doing things than you were even aware of. 

The R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy does all of these things for you. It takes the guesswork out of the equation so that you can take my plan and adapt it for your unique classroom, rather than figuring everything out from scratch by yourself.

Take it from TaiLi who says, “You lay everything out for us step by step. As a second year teacher I wish I could have gone through the Academy before becoming a first year teacher. It has prepared me in more ways than any field or clinical experience ever has. Do not hesitate to join.”

Regardless of whether or not you’re ready to join us in the Academy, you're invited to my new, free masterclass: How to Get Ready for the School Year in 5 Weeks or Less. Just click below to learn more and save your seat now!

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • What TaiLi was struggling the most with before joining the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy.
  • How TaiLi felt after completing the Academy, and the impact it has had on her teaching.
  • The major transformation that can happen when you lay out, and organize, your classroom very intentionally.
  • How creating routines actually helps our students become more independent.
  • What TaiLi would say to you if you’re on the fence about joining the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy.
  • Some of the new additions that are now included in the Academy, like my Natural Consequences Troubleshooting Guide.

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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