Great Advice

Some great advice from a retired teacher:

“So glad to hear you are surviving even though it probably feels as if this isn’t really living a quality life at this point. I’ll never understand how the school system has extra meetings for first year teachers, isn’t it hard enough with out extra , usually stupid, meetings to go to.

As I look back on my first year of teaching, I was bamboozled so much of the time, but always smiling and acting like I was on top of my game and loving it. It was when I got home and doing more work at home, I would let the tears flow. I was not sure what made the crying start, it was just a feeling of…… THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ONE HUMAN TO DO! I would think back to classes at [college] and wonder if anyone really told me it would be like this. I decided there were references to the first year being the hardest, BUT if they considered themselves good teachers at [college], they failed in letting me know HOW hard it would be.

If I could do it over, I would keep a journal of my thoughts the first year. REALLY! I would consider turning it into a book to publish and have used in college to try to give students the reality of what it will be like. Maybe you could write that book, sell it, get rich, and start your own school!

You will make it. I know you are probably counting the days to your first day off. I did. Then on the Sunday of Thanksgiving Vacation I wanted to cry because I was really good at vacationing and felt like a loser at being the teacher which was expected. It turns out I have some students from my first year teaching who have found me on Facebook and told me how much I meant to them as a teacher that year! Wow, I never expected that.

I know you are doing a great job but oh boy it is tough. And because you care, you are frustrated. Well I have talked way too much, but I just don’t want you to think there is something wrong with your situation. Many of your fellow first year teacher friends will lie when they talk to you. They will be scared to death to let on how bad it is. They will talk about how great it is and never mention the drama and stress they are feeling. So don’t let current first year teachers elsewhere influence you. Those who seem to have no extra work and are cruising may not be teaching next year. Oh boy, I did it again……. Blah blah blah. I can talk and talk. It is because you are good at what you do that makes you so overwhelmed. You will day by day realize what you can cut back on, how to save time, concentrate on one thing at a time. You can’t be great in everything at once. Choose what you are concentrating on each week or month. Give yourself a break on other things and really get good at one thing at a time. Keep a record of it, you will feel great. Keep on keeping on…. You are a super person doing a super job.”

No One Tells You

I feel like writing an angry letter to the School of Education where I went to college. No one tells you how hard the first year of teaching will be. Not even college (which you likely spent at least $100,000.00 to attend for four years) prepares you for the first year of teaching. Sure, I completed all of the requisite coursework and the field experiences. I graduated with honors. I thought nothing could be harder than student teaching (oh yeah — actual teaching LOL). But I don’t remember any professor, at any time, trying to impress upon us the difficulty of the first year. To be fair, if college students had any idea of the misery of the first year, there would be no more education majors, so maybe they don’t tell you on purpose.

I feel like I’ve turned into this miserable, grouchy person that I don’t want to be. I’m stressed out, I’m exhausted, and I’m trying to quickly decide what other profession I can take up so that I don’t have to be a teacher again next year.

I don’t want to be completely negative. There have been good moments. There have even been good days. But right now, I’m sobbing on my couch trying to figure out how I got here and completely second-guessing my career path.

I know no one reads this yet, but if for some, weird reason this is stumbled upon in the future by another first year teacher… know that you’re not alone. I’ve been told it gets better. We shall see.