10 Things You Need to Do as a New Virginia Teacher

Congratulations!! You've just been hired as a first-year teacher in the beautiful state of Virginia! So... now what?

Hi! I'm Alyssa from Alyssa Teaches and I'm going to walk you through the top 10 things you need to do as a new Virginia teacher.

What are some must-do items to check off your to-do list as new teacher in Virginia?

1. Explore the VDOE website.

There is so much content on the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) website that I could almost write a separate blog post. In fact, I already have!

This website is definitely one you'll want to bookmark to learn all you need to know about Virginia Standards of Learning, curriculum frameworks, standardized testing, and more.

I recommend starting here and using the menu on the right to navigate the different subjects. There are lots of hidden instructional resources from word wall cards to maps to released tests.

This site will also be useful when it's time to renew your license (but don't worry about that now).

2. Take a glance at the curriculum.

Now's a good time to look at the standards, curriculum frameworks, and pacing guides. You don't need to read it all word-for-word right now, but it's helpful to glance through the SOLs so you have an idea of what you'll be teaching.

You can also grab these free handy SOL-at-a-glance charts to keep on your whiteboard or in your teacher planner.

Grades K-6 Virginia SOLs At a Glance Free Download

3. Sign up to receive the VDOE email newsletter.

The VDOE sends out a weekly email with PD opportunities, events for educators, and updates from the VDOE superintendent. Sign up and skim!

4. Connect with your mentor.

Hopefully, your district has matched you with a veteran teacher at your school or a neighboring school. A mentor teacher is a wonderful resource from whom you can learn, get feedback, and receive guidance and support.

5. Explore Virginia teacher associations.

Joining an educator association is a great way to extend your PLC and make connections with others across the state who serve in the same role as you. See a comprehensive list of Virginia associations here.

6. Check on required trainings.

We know that learning doesn't stop once we're hired! There may be some state- and district-required trainings you'll need to complete during your first year. (Luckily, many are online and can be done at your own pace.) Your county should give you a list of trainings and dates, but be sure to ask if you don't get one!

I've been known to knock out a few of these over the summer so I don't have to worry about it come the first teacher workday.

7. Start pinning.

Since Virginia doesn't follow the Common Core standards, it can be a little trickier to find resources and activities that align to our curricula. I love using Pinterest to search for strategies and activities to teach the SOLs! (And of course, be sure to bookmark our blog for ideas!)

You can also follow my Pinterest board for new teachers here!

8. Find SOL-aligned resources on TpT.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a great place to look for high-quality resources that support the SOLs. To search for VA-aligned activities, I recommend typing the SOL into the search bar.

9. Stay organized.

This one is kind of obvious, but there's so much paperwork and PD and meetings for new teachers! I definitely recommend developing systems to organize your print and digital files, especially when it comes to paperwork you'll need for evaluation.

10. Connect with other Virginia teachers on social media.

My last tip is to get social! Social media is a good (free) way to widen your professional community and chat with other educators in our state. You can start by searching hashtags like #virginiateacher and #vateacher on IG and Twitter.

There are also some helpful Virginia teacher groups you can join on Facebook, including:

Once you get these items checked off your to-do list, you can get to the really fun stuff! Setting up your classroom, planning the first week of school, and doing what you were meant to do! All of us Virginia teacher bloggers wish you a wonderful school year!

I'm sharing the top 9 things you need to do as new Virginia teacher!

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