It really boils down to
1. A happy and healthy teacher is a more effective teacher.
You will quickly find out that you could spend 24/7 in your classroom and STILL not get everything done that you wanted to do. There's always something you could be doing better. Do yourself a favor and set boundaries on your time. During my first year of teaching, I came home at 5 PM everyday (kids were dismissed at 3) whether I was "done" with my work or not. It saved my sanity, and it may well have saved my marriage. The workload gets slightly easier after the first few years, but maintaining balance is always crucial.
2. Always remember: you are teaching children, not curriculum!
Good ol' Mr. Rogers said it best:
It's easy to convince people that children need to learn the alphabet and numbers. How do we help people to realize that what matters is how a person's inner life finally puts together the alphabet and numbers of his outer life?3. Hang in there!
What really matters is whether he uses the alphabet for the declaration of war or the description of a sunrise, and his numbers for the final count in Buchenwald or for the specifics of a new bridge.
There are going to be days that you are going to wonder "Why in the world am I doing this? I did NOT sign up for this!!". There are going to be days where you are so tired, you won't remember how to spell your last name. Days when it feels like the whole world is against you: parents, students, colleagues, administrators, President of the United States. Days when you've made 4,000 decisions and don't have it in you to answer a simple yes-or-no question at the dinner table. On those days remember: "I am choosing to make a difference in the lives of children society would rather forget. However hard, however stressful, however tiring, it is worth it. The kids are worth it."
What important piece of advice would you give a new teacher?