What if I told you there’s a new teacher out there struggling who needs you — would you share your story?
I remember my first year like it was yesterday. I accepted an interview for a permanent position on September 30th. I thought this was strange timing, given the new school year had just begun; however, to me, it was also serendipitous.
There was no question in my mind that I would take the chance to sit for an interview and teach a lesson to what would become my first class of students.
I was so excited to learn I would have a real job, I hardly took the time to wonder why several teachers left this position in the short month since the school opened its doors, or what it meant when a series of administrators and faculty characterized the group of sweet, cooperative adolescents I met as “challenging.” In fact, it didn’t even phase me that, after announcing what my new salary would be, my then-superintendent asked, “So, do you still want the job?”
The excitement of the holiday season is in the air and winter break is just around the corner. Amid all the hustle and bustle, a few days can seem like an eternity. Distractions come easily; that is, if you’ve managed to find focus in your classroom at all. Desks are messy, school bags are bulging, and everyone is counting the days — maybe the hours — until the final school bell rings to signal sweet, sweet freedom.
Imagine how the students must feel!
We know you’ve been working hard for the past few months to create the best possible learning experiences for your students. You’ve earned this brief time away and we’ve been wondering how you plan to spend it. In true Tch fashion, we asked our outstanding community of educators to find out.
This entry is the sixth post in the series #TchWellness.
Every September, my desk and office space begin as blank canvases. As I purchase supplies and create materials, I place each item in an organized location. However, as the year progresses, I’m often overwhelmed by paperwork, post-it notes, books to read, projects to complete, and more. Somewhere in all of this, my desk becomes a space for my expansive educational collections and to-do lists rather than a clean, organized retreat where I can mentally focus and be creative.
Editor’s Note: The questions throughout this post are from the Rising Educators in Jennifer Wolfe’s course. We invite you to click on the questions to respond to them directly.
As a 20-year veteran high school social studies teacher, I don’t get nervous anymore when the first day of school draws near — I get excited. I wonder who my students are, what they’ll talk about, how they’ll take to the content, what challenges and celebrations we’ll have this year, and of course, if they’ll like and respect me.
I only just realized that I’m more excited in September these days than nervous, when I was hired to teach my first graduate-level education class, Foundations in Education 602, this past summer. I felt the butterflies in my stomach almost immediately after I was asked to send in copies of my degrees and was assigned a university faculty email address. Amazing, me, an adjunct professor. Awesome! Now what in the hell was I going to teach them? The university gave me some basic guidelines, but the course was mine to create. I could design a foundations course of my own.
Being a new teacher is extremely exciting and completely exhausting. So let me start by shouting this loud and clear:
We are here to help you!
Because we know that starting your teaching career can be all consuming, we’ve created our New Teacher Deep Dive just for you.
As a new teacher, I’ve struggled in my classroom this last year. I’ve had lessons that don’t go as planned, students that I can’t seem to reach, and days where no matter how much I prepare, it doesn’t seem to be enough. I had this idea that I needed to be the “perfect” teacher. But let’s face it, there is not enough time to always be perfect, and perfect is boring.
Quick. Imagine you’re on “Who Wants To Be a Teacher Millionaire” and the million dollar question is: “What do most teachers agree is most true about their work?”
What would you say? At the center of our teacher-hearts, what do we believe about our work? There are many good answers, but I think the answer I would offer, given all the teachers I’ve met in my career, is a belief in the power of relationships.
Your first year of teaching is overwhelming. There’s no real way around this. Everything is new! But with help and support, it can get a little easier. That’s where we come in.
I am so excited to debut the first run of our Teaching Channel Teams group, dedicated to helping new teachers develop positive class culture. Through this group, you’ll get to use the Teaching Channel Teams platform to collaborate with teachers across the country, explore resources, and learn new strategies. All in less than one hour a week!
Teaching Channel wants to help teachers as they begin their career in education. In this series, you’ll find the videos, blogs, and other resources that will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take before the first day of school.
What I miss most about being a classroom teacher are the relationships I had with my students. I miss getting a million hugs from kindergartners and hearing former students yell, “Ms. Jones!” I miss sitting next to students as they learn how to read, feeling like I had just won the lottery as they decipher “cat” independently.
But what made teaching so wonderful is also what made it so hard. The relationships were all encompassing. I loved my students so much at school, and I loved them so much when I went home. When my students were having difficulties, I worried about them all night. During my first year of teaching, I worried about my students so much that I ended up with a perpetual stomach ache.
Whether you’re entering your first year of teaching or your 30th, I urge you to spend time this summer thinking about how you will strike a balance, building rewarding relationships while not letting the relationships overtake your life. For me, repeating two things like mantras helped: “Teach from the heart” and “You can’t do it all.”