A Note To New Teachers

Being a new teacher is one of the hardest things that you will ever do.  The amount of responsibility that is thrust upon a new teacher is like placing the world on Atlas’ shoulders.  For a person who is new to the profession that feeling can be crushing. 

I remember my first year actually being frightened of going to work every day.  I even spent time in the bathroom throwing up because I was so nervous.  No one who goes into teaching wants to do a bad job.  We all want to be successful and desire to be inspiration to the children we teach, while also instilling the desire to see value in our subject once they leave.  Putting all of that on our shoulders is absolutely terrifying! 

I remember when I went into the gas station in the mornings and actually envied the clerk behind the desk.  He didn’t have the future success on his shoulders of thirty kids.  If he took a day off no one cared except his employer or those who had to cover for him. (I'm not knocking any industry.  I just remember being kind of jealous that he got to go home when his shift was over...)  Me on the other hand, had those children who counted on me every single day to be the most stable element of their life.  If I took a day off I felt guilty and still do most times.    

If you are new to teaching remember that those around you will be willing to help you. Most teachers enjoy developing people, even colleagues.  I ended up finding a couple key mentors that first year that just listened to my troubles and gave me suggestions.  The people around you are key to your success in those first few years.   They can provide materials, guidance, a sympathetic ear, or even are great people to go out with after school on Friday afternoon.  You do not have to do it alone and nor should you try to.  Start building your support group and growing your network of successful people.  Years down the road you will smile as you think of all those gracious people who helped you get where you are and through every transitional moment.  I know I sure do.  

Also, just remember that it is not your responsibility to fix everything in one year for a student.  All you can do is your best to bring them the most quality education that you can.   Some days that might be the best lesson you have ever done.  Some days it might be a reading you quickly made copies of because you were simply running out of time.  Mostly, just being there and being dependable is the most important thing you can give to kids who might not have the most stable of worlds.  You do not have to be Superman.  Only the best person you can be on any given day.     

Just remember to keep working and trying things.  As time goes on the whole process will become less terrifying and you will spend less time laboring over lesson plans as you become more effective in knowing what kids need.  The joys you will find in this job will outweigh all the terror you are feeling now.  All being petrified shows is that you care and will one day become the amazing teacher you hoped you can one day become.  Hang in there!      

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