Dear New Teacher,
You’re here! In just a few short weeks, you will be teaching in your own classroom for the first time! That is so exciting and maybe a bit scary? Don’t worry-you’re not alone, every single teacher has had all of those same feelings as they headed into their first school year.
Maybe being a teacher is what you’ve always dreamed of doing or maybe you came to education a little later, or down a different path. It doesn’t matter how you got here. What matters is that you are here and when those doors open on the first day of school, YOU will be the teacher.
I am sure you’ve heard all of the horror stories about teaching. How standardized testing is killing creativity, low pay, and high demands. But, even hearing those stories, you are here. You’re not afraid of a challenge. You would rather do something that matters and you are going to make an outstanding teacher. It’s not an easy path, but it is worth every step.
How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited? Overwhelmed by the onslaught of information? Convinced that you’ll have no idea what you’re doing on day one? Don’t worry. Those are all normal feelings. Every single teacher has felt every one of those feelings. (And if they say they haven’t, they are not giving you the whole story.)
When I started teaching, I was determined to know everything there was to know before day one. Guess what- I didn’t and that is because that is impossible.
But now I know why.
Nothing about teaching is one-size-fits-all. There isn’t one answer that works for everyone.
Teaching changes from one minute to the next.
Keeping those two things in mind will help you feel less overwhelmed and trust that the learning is part of the process!
With that being said, here are a few tips to help you get started on the right foot.
Going in with a plan is critical but be prepared to throw that out the window if it doesn’t work that day. Having a Plan B (and Plan C) is one of the best things you can do to be ready for whatever comes your way
Find a Positive Group
One of the best things you can do as a new teacher is find colleagues in your building who still love what they do. Seek out the veterans who haven’t grown embittered. Surround yourself with these people, learn from them, and ask them questions. They will be your lifeline so choose wisely.
Focus more on the “inside” and less on the “outside”
It is tempting to spend all of your time decorating, designing, bulletin boarding, and making things look just right. While I know this is rewarding and helps you feel like you are ready to go, it isn’t the stuff that matters most. I am not saying don’t decorate but if you find you are spending the majority of your time decorating and a small amount of time planning, you may want to look at rebalancing that.
Leave the blaming outside the classroom
There are lots of things about education that don’t work as well as they should. It is easy to focus too much energy on those things instead of taking ownership of our classroom and doing what we can do to make things better. When you run into a problem ask yourself these 3 questions:
a: Do I have control over this situation?
b: What can I do to make it better?
c: What action am I going to take?
Too many times, new teachers forget that teaching is FUN! Yes- it is hard and overwhelming but at the end of the day, you get to change children’s lives and that is truly fun!
So as you head in that first day of school, remember, you’ve got this! Teaching is your superpower and each student that sits in your classroom is lucky to have you!