So how do most beginners learn the drum parts for songs? Are there drum 'tabs' available Where do you begin really if you don't have a teacher?
There are tabs which are available on this website, but "drum tablature" kinda sucks and it's really best to just learn by ear, which is actually much easier on drums as there are simply separate instruments like the ride cymbal, snare drum or second rack tom, as opposed to the separate melodic notes present on guitar. I'd really say your best bet would be to try into get into reading drum music ASAP, and downloading a program like TuxGuitar so as to be able to transcribe things-- from there, I'd say try to transcribe the beats in very simple music, even if it just basic rock beats with some syncopation, like in a song by the Strokes or White Stripes. For this, try and listen to what each hand and foot is doing, then trying to put it all together yourself.
Honestly, drum tabs suck. It's WAY easier to learn by ear. Once you have some basic rock beats down, you're golden. Learn by ear from there or look up some videos on youtube if you're really stuck on something.
It's a good idea to learn by ear but I like to use guitar pro tabs because I get to read the music and play along with it. Although it's not actual drum tabs, it's just drum sheet music.