Every day in a classroom is a learning opportunity. Not just for our students, but for us as teachers too. Our students know better than anyone how things are going in our classes, what is confusing, what they are excited about, what is working and what is not. We ALL have plenty to learn about planning, instruction, assessment, and students, no matter our experience.
Something I'm pretty sure you all experienced as students in your teacher prep programs, and perhaps all through your schooling, are those quick check-ins at the end of class: the exit slip. Exit slips provide an opportunity for students to write anonymously about their experiences in your classroom. Prompts can refer to questions about content students have after class, the "muddiest point" of a discussion, concerns about group interactions, pacing, anything really. For example, if you ask students to write down the most important point from social studies today and you are faced with blank stares or off-the-wall suggestions, you can use that information to regroup the next day.
Exit slips take little to no time to prepare (I often go into a class with a planned question for an exit slip, but sometimes I decide on the spot that I need to gauge where the group is). I used them with 4th graders and I use them with college students. As long as children can do some writing or drawing, they can participate in exit slips. They are easy to forget about planning into your instruction, especially since there are so many other things to think about as you start teaching! But regular exit slips can really help students see the communication lines are open, that you are interested in their feedback, and that you care about them enough to modify your plans to best meet their needs.
This informal form of ongoing assessment can really help new teachers learn about the needs of their students. Give it a shot, and let us know how it goes!