Dear beginning teacher....
Posted on 5-03-2016
Dear beginning teacher,
I remember my first day of teaching - bursting with excitement and full of ideas. Then, that afternoon, reality hit as a sweet girl proceeded to projectile-vomit all over me! It was then I realised that teaching is full of highs and lows.
I love your passion and energy and desire to be the best teacher possible. You will spend millions of hours making resources, developing unit and lesson plans, marking and staying up to 2 am writing report cards. However, it is so worth it. You're investing in your students' lives. On behalf of your students, thank you. They will always recall how you made them feel. Be an encourager!
You are not alone. Reach out to the support network around you. Ask for help - it should never be seen as a sign of weakness. You will have days when you come home buzzing with excitement as your day went better than you could have imagined. Then there will be days when you'll feel like crying, and wonder whether you made the right career choice. Some days, you'll have limitless energy and, on others, you'll be downright exhausted and emotionally drained. This is normal. Journaling at home about your ups and downs can be therapeutic. When you feel like it's all too much, reach out and talk to a friend. Don't try to do it alone. Seek out a teacher you really admire, talk to them, ask questions and seek advice. Having a good mentor when starting out will help steer you in the right direction. Nothing beats finding a real-life role model.
Be organised. Try to stay on top of paperwork, planning, and marking....otherwise, it will snowball. When everything gets crazily busy, it's easy to forget about YOU time. This is detrimental to your health. You're here for the long haul, so you need to take time to energise and recharge. It will make you a better teacher, and a happier person to be around. Burnout is rampant in the teaching profession. Don't work through your breaks. Go to the staff room, eat and chat with your colleagues. If you take a break, your teaching will be more effective.
Be firm, but kind. Follow through with what you say you will do. Look beneath the surface of misbehaviour. Some students may have challenges and difficult home lives you don't fully know about. Reflect on your teaching regularly. Always keep learning and growing, both professionally and personally. Don't forget that you're a valuable asset to your school community, and have a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas to share. Communicate regularly with parents. Get them on-side, and remember to tell them GREAT news about their child, as well as the not-so-great, when the situation presents itself.
Finally, remember to breathe and smile, and that tomorrow is always a new day. If you're having a tough day, remember you WILL get through it. I promise.
I have developed fabulous resources to help you with your teaching. You can check them out HERE.