Monday, September 15, 2014

A Letter to My First Year Self

Dear First Year Self

Time for the big leagues. You made it through student teaching in two completely different atmospheres and you feel like you can handle anything.
You're wrong.

You thought you were tired before; you have no idea what tired means. You will pull an all nighter grading assignments not due to your procrastination but due to a mixture of not knowing how to stagger your assignments and not knowing how to grade quickly and effectively at the same time.

You will have parents that drive you crazy and make you doubt your ability to do your job. Don't let them get you down. Don't be afraid to ask your fellow teachers how to handle the situations in the future and if the parent is right. Sometimes they are but are just jerks about it. It doesn't mean you're a bad teacher. It means you have to learn and grow just like your students.

You'll have moments that you just want to give up. You'll have these moments more than you'll like to admit.

That's okay.

Just make sure you don't keep it locked inside. That's when you'll start believing it. Chances are, your fellow teachers feel the same way or have and can help you get out of your funk. Reach out. I know you like to be alone but you have to reach out. It's the only way you'll survive.

The biggest thing you got wrong about the entire teaching jig has nothing to do with parents or burnout.

The biggest thing you got wrong was this:

You'll care more, have more patience, keep a level head, and be inspired more than you ever thought possible.

The kids will say stupid things and drive you up a wall nearly every day but also nearly every day, they will do something that will make you want to brag to your friends about your proud teacher moments.

Even though you'll want to scream, you'll shock yourself at how you're able to take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and react in a rational manner. You'll be blown away how you don't let the teenage challenges get under your skin. You'll then be blown away at how much respect the students give you because you don't blow up on them like their parents.

You have some challenging moments ahead. Moments where you have to be strong for your students because you're the one they came to because they trust you. Moments where all you want to do is scream at how cruel people can be and scream because life isn't fair.

It is in these moments that you'll be shocked at how well you're able to handle the situations. More importantly, you'll be shocked at how well your students handle them when they are too young to be dealing with situations. It is in those moments that you'll know this is the job for you.

Stick it out first year self. The moments of doubt will become fewer and the moments of inspiration and happiness will become greater.

Your 4th year self

1 comment:

  1. All teachers should read this. Every day. Thank you.