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New Teacher Spotlight: Rebecca Stafford

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Show Notes:

If you are a brand new teacher getting ready to start your first year of teaching, wouldn’t it be nice to have a crystal ball that would tell you how your year is going to go? 🔮 

Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have the next best thing - an interview with someone who just finished her first year of teaching and is ready to share her experience with you! 

I’m interviewing one of my R.E.A.D.Y. for Academy students, Rebecca Stafford. She goes by Becca, and her name may sound familiar if you are in any of my Facebook groups. Becca has served the role of a group expert in my Academy pop-up Facebook group and in my current summer Facebook group for our R.E.A.DY. for School Academy students. One of the things I appreciate so much about Becca is her generous heart and her bright spirit. She responds so thoughtfully and is always more than willing to share her ideas and her strategies that have worked in her classroom. 

I know you're going to enjoy getting to know Becca more in today's show, as she shares her story of what her first year of teaching first grade has been like. I'm pretty sure that her experience is going to resonate with what you might be going through right now as you prepare for the school year. 

It always amazes me how we can spend four years in college learning how to teach, but somehow we don't have time to cover such practical topics, like how to set up your classroom library and how to create a flow in your classroom. The longer I work with new teachers, the more I realize there's such a gap between what we learned in college and what we actually need to know in order to implement all of those things we learned.

Although Becca had a fantastic student teaching experience and mentor teacher, she understood that having her own classroom would be a totally different ballgame. Before joining the Academy, Becca knew she needed support in order to feel confident going into her first year of teaching. Specifically, she wanted to be sure that she set up her classroom in a way that flowed, organized her classroom library effectively, and had solid classroom management plans in place. 

After completing the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Becca shares that she felt way more prepared in the crucial areas of teaching that she originally needed help with, as well as routines and procedures and Meet the Teacher Night. 

Becca explains that her biggest “aha” moment from the Academy was that it’s okay to switch things up when they aren’t working:

“Through subbing, student teaching, and looking on Pinterest, I had these very specific ideas in my head of exactly what I wanted to do and how my classroom was going to run. But then you get in that classroom and sometimes it's just not at all how you plan for it to be. It's just so important to be flexible. I learned this through the Academy. I also learned that when I was in my own classroom, and from my amazing first year teacher mentor that you have to adapt, and you have to go with the flow. If something's not working, why are you going to keep doing it? You have to switch it up. Don't be afraid to change things and try new things, and if that thing doesn't work, try something else. It’s trial and error until you figure out something that works for you and works for your kids.”

I think this is great advice for any new teacher. So often we go into our classrooms with this expectation that we have to be perfect. The reality is, nothing about teaching is perfect and nothing about being human is perfect. Your kids are going to mess up and you're going to mess up. 

It’s all about getting more comfortable with allowing ourselves to get away from the idea that there’s a “best” way to do something. Instead, think of it as there’s just a different way of doing things. You need to be willing to experiment until you find what works best for your unique classroom.

If you would like more insider knowledge on what to expect in your first years of teaching, be sure to sign up for one of my very last three masterclasses of summer 2022. 

You'll walk away from this masterclass with a step-by-step plan for how to prepare for the school year, including and beyond setting up and organizing your first classroom. You will also receive a one hour PD certificate and an amazing bonus bundle of resources to use in the first week of school. Click the image below to sign up today!

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

  • Why you should reuse classroom themes year after year!
  • Rebecca’s experience with purchasing the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy before her student teaching journey was over.
  • The big questions that Rebecca had before starting her first year as a teacher.
  • What Rebecca felt like she had more control over after completing the Academy.
  • The positive impact that implementing natural consequences can have on your classroom management.
  • A great solution for what to do when parents pop into your classroom unannounced.

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.

💛 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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