Dear New Teacher,
You are doing great! I know some days it really doesn’t feel like it – but I promise you, you are doing great! You care about the kids – even the ones that put worms on your desk. You are doing your best! You put effort into doing the best for them! You are doing great! Everyone has bad days – and bad weeks. Talk to someone, eat some chocolate, and then head back into the classroom to try again. It’s a difficult job. Nobody really tells you exactly how difficult it will be. Remember, you love the kids. That’s why you became a teacher.
It’s no joke when people say it takes about 5 years to find your own style and be comfortable with it. It took me 8 years to really feel happy and settled with my approach to teaching (I tend to be a late bloomer). So, give yourself permission to try things out in those first 5 years. Try different styles, try different methods, try different age groups and subjects. Try all the treats on treat days – that helps! Find excellent teachers and talk to them, copy them, ask them questions. Then, take what they say and make it your own.
Be careful of your new teacher enthusiasm spilling over into judgment. You have all the newest methods, you are up on the new curriculum, you have lots of new ideas and we older teachers (maybe it’s better to say “more experienced” teachers) love this about you. We get so many great ideas from you. Thank you! We have been around the block a few times and so we may not fully embrace all of the “new” things. Some of them are not new and we have tried them before and found they don’t work with our priorities. (Oh, for the love of God, why is this in style again?) Allow us some grace and allow yourself some time before judging. Ask questions – you may not get the answers you want, but you may understand a bit more.
When you are having continued, real difficulty, it may be time to try a new school. Some schools are more difficult than others. Some classes are more difficult than others. A different administration may suit your style of teaching. Most of all, don’t give up. If you love children, (even the ones who always sneeze on you), if you love teaching, it will get better! You may find you don’t love teaching and that’s ok. Give it some time – and if this is still the case, find what you love – sky-diving, calculus or stand up comedy! There is no rule saying you must be a teacher. However, for the most part, it will get better! You are doing great! Don’t worry!