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The Voice of Experience

Retired educators share their best advice for new teachers.


“Just remember, you’re not by yourself,” said NEA-Retired member Gerald Lillard when we asked him what he would like to say to a new teacher. Reach out to colleagues throughout the building, said another; don’t be afraid to ask for help, advised the next. Do you see a pattern here?

The advice and encouragement offered by these 14 retired educators come from years of experience—more than 515 between them!—and a heart-felt desire to help the profession's next generation get off to a good start.

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How to avoid isolation and burnout

How to avoid isolation and burnout
Gerald Lillard, Tennessee

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Dress professionally

Dress professionally
Ernest Holley, Virginia

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Relate to your students

Relate to your students
Jack Rollins, Overseas Education Association

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Be real with your students

Be real with your students
Morris P. Fair, Sr., Tennessee

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Ask for help

Ask for help
Barbara Snyder, Tennessee

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Students do not need another friend

Students do not need another friend
Stan Nowak, New York

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Each day is a new beginning

Each day is a new beginning
Sid Johnson, Arkansas

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Be proud to be an educator

Be proud to be an educator
Nevada Banks, Arkansas


Now it's your turn to weigh in. Add your practical tips and words of wisdom to our discussion board

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Go slow to go fast...

Go slow to go fast...
Jan Olson, Iowa

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Develop positive relationships built on trust

Develop positive relationships built on trust
Johnny Davis, Alabama

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The three Fs of teaching

The three Fs of teaching
Jean Dobashi, Hawaii

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Find a mentor

Find a mentor
Paul Bouchard, Maine

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Find friends throughout the building

Find friends throughout the building
Patti Lochner, Florida

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Have students record their own misdeeds

Have students record their own misdeeds
Katherine Hairston, Virginia