You’re about to embark on your first year as a teacher. You likely feel excited, nervous, and even a bit overwhelmed. We want to assure you: Your U Prep family is here. We want you to succeed, and we are ready to help you prepare to be in the classroom.
U Prep’s mission is to support every child, regardless of background, in achieving a four-year college degree and a life of opportunity. You know this. It’s why you’re here. But we also want to set you up with the skills and confidence you need to thrive in this new role. We are as committed to our staff as we are our students.
That’s why we put together this short guide on what to expect during your first year with U Prep, along with some advice. It’s not exhaustive, but we hope it eases your nerves a little bit. what to expect during your first year with U Prep,. Have questions? We’re available to answer them.
We know you can, and will, be an exceptional teacher. We’re glad to have you on the team.
Before Day One
Investing in our teachers is an investment in our scholars. At U Prep, educators receive ongoing professional development and coaching—starting well before the bell rings on the first day of school. The Summer Institute is a multi-week development program (three weeks for new team members, two weeks for returning staff) that prepares the entire U Prep team for the year ahead.
Once the school year begins, expect weekly 1:1 personalized coaching with a U Prep Dean and weekly professional development sessions so you can continue to refine your skills inside and outside of the classroom.
Build Relationships with Your Students
The transition from trying to remember your students’ names to discovering their individual personalities and learning styles (and struggles) is a quick one.It’s essential to foster relationships with your students, especially at the start of the school year. Remember: The scholars are probably nervous about their first day, first week, and first month, too. We ask all of our teachers to greet their students by name and with a handshake, high five, or hug—scholars’ choice—every morning. It helps start the day on a professional, but also welcoming, foot. By being open, approachable, and genuinely interested in their lives, you’ll develop trust and be better able to support them both in their successes and when they’re struggling.
Collaborate with Colleagues
If there’s one piece of advice we can share, it’s to not try to do it on your own. U Prep is a family, and we support one another. Learn from the experiences of teachers who’ve been through similar situations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek advice. Get to know your fellow educators and staff members on a personal level. It makes the work environment more fun and more collaborative.
Connect with Parents
Families are at the core of U Prep’s work. We can’t prepare our scholars for a four-year college degree without their family’s help. We promise families an excellent education for their children, and it’s a promise we deliver on. How? By developing a true partnership between school and home through consistent communication and regular check-ins—an approach that begins even before the school year starts.
Teaching is an incredibly demanding profession. We ask a lot of you, and of our scholars. In order to support you becoming a game-changing educator, U Prep doesn’t just offer professional growth opportunities. We invest in you as a person, too, by offering comprehensive health and wellness benefits, home purchasing assistance, and generous PTO.
It’s also important that you develop self-care habits that allow you to maintain your well-being. Make time for hobbies, physical exercise, and socializing with friends and family.
Celebrate Small Victories
Your first year is going to be a bit of a roller-coaster as you learn who you are as a teacher and get comfortable with U Prep’s style. So, a final piece of advice: Cherish the little triumphs along the way. It could be the moment when a student who’s been struggling finally grasps a concept or when a parent offers you heartfelt appreciation. Write them down. Share them with your teammates. Embracing the wins, no matter how small. They’ll keep you inspired.