Master Teaching

a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher

3 Tips for New Teachers

Tips for New Teachersby Mark Wickersham

When I first started teaching as a 22-year-old on the south side of Indianapolis, I really needed a mentor. I had a stressful position consisting of teaching three very different subjects to high school students with emotional disabilities. Two of these subjects weren’t my cup of tea, English grammar and pre-algebra, but I was thankful to have a job that I thought paid me handsomely. The students came from rough backgrounds, and I had some difficulty connecting with them. I was driving 30 minutes to work from a wealthier suburb of Indianapolis where I had spent much of my youth. I didn’t share a great deal in common with my students. They considered me to be from the countryside, and compared to their world, I was.

If I could go back two decades and mentor that naïve 22-year-old teacher, one tip I would give him is to carefully consider the kind of person the Master Teacher has made each student to be. You can be well educated and know every teaching strategy in the books, but you will have major challenges if you fail to carefully consider the kind of people your students are. Learn which of your students can create amazing pieces of artwork, which of them know everything about computers, and which of them you’ll always find on a court, field, or in a pool. Keep in mind which students get energized when being alone and which students get energized when they’re working with others.[1] Find out where your students have lived and who their parents are. The more you carefully consider the kind of students you are teaching, the more you can connect with them and impact their learning.[2]

A second tip I have for new teachers is to teach from the Master Teacher’s worldview. It doesn’t matter what subject matter you are teaching, integrate the content with His worldview as is appropriate and natural. When this is accomplished, your students should gain a greater understanding of who the Master is, who He wants us to be, and how we can bring Him the greatest glory. This integration is planned as well as spontaneous. Sometimes opportunities arise that lend themselves to sharing a story, having a meeting, or simply spending time with your students outside of the classroom. Additionally, have classroom policies and procedures that are filled with grace and truth.[3]

The third and last tip I have is simple, but important. Be sure to find time to rest and relax. Teaching can be a demanding profession, and it’s important that you don’t spend every waking hour writing lesson plans and grading papers. This is a mistake I’ve made, and a mistake I’ve seen a number of other teachers make. We are designed to take breaks and experience joy. Genesis 2:2-3 shows us that rest is important. The Master rested not because He was tired, but to give us a standard to follow. Rest in Him and trust that the Master will take care of us.


[1] Elena Aguilar, “The Power of Introverts: An Essential Understanding for Teachers,” edutopia.org, November 25, 2013, http://www.edutopia.org/blog/power-introverts-essential-understanding-teachers-elena-aguilar
[2] “Connecting With Your Students,” Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence, accessed May 28, 2016, http://www.cte.cornell.edu/teaching-ideas/building-inclusive-classrooms/connecting-with-your-students.html.
[3] “What Biblical Integration Is and Isn’t,” biblicalintegration.com, accessed May 28, 2016, http://biblicalintegration.com/what-biblical-integration-is-and-isnt/.

Further exploration

  • Genesis 1-2

What’s your perspective?

We welcome your comments on any of the ideas in this post or in answer to the questions below.

  • How are you carefully considering the kind of person the Master Teacher has made each of your students to be?
  • What successes and challenges have you encountered when teaching from the Master Teacher’s worldview?
  • What are ways that you rest and relax?

Post Author

IMG_2293Mark Wickersham taught in Indiana (United States) and South Korea before serving as a coach, teacher, or principal in China for 13 years. Mark is now the middle school assistant principal at Evansville Christian School in Southern Indiana where his TESOL certified wife, a 19-year Middle Kingdom resident, corrects his grammar. They are the parents to three children, ages four to fourteen. Find Mark’s latest posts at http://mkwick.blogspot.com or contact him by LinkedIn.


Photo Credit: Mark Wickersham

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This entry was posted on September 21, 2016 by in Mark Wickersham, moral dimension, rest, tips for new teachers, types of students.

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