Someone I know was just accepted into an 18 month long non-degree program that will result in...
Nothing like a parent email that says “Does another teacher have a science class this period? Because [I think you suck]”
You could be the world’s greatest teacher and not please every parent. One parent’s opinion does not get to define you as a teacher. It is obvious that you care deeply about science, teaching, and your students. That alone makes you better than nearly every veteran teacher innmy department. It’s your first year. It will get easier, and you will grow as an educator. You are doing just fine.
#education, send this first year teacher some love. Teaching’s hard!
Teaching is super hard. And iamlittlei’s right. You can’t please everyone. It’s easier said than done (believe me; I’m having to repeat this mantra to myself right now). But know that you’ve got to do what you know to be right and keep caring about those kids. They’re why you’re doing this.
- I still feel like a fraud but I’m becoming more comfortable with it—however weird that may be. I think the root of this, surprisingly, is that I have no data to back up my teaching (yet). I have no clue if what I’m doing really works. I’m working on it—but what if all my assessments aren’t really assessments? What if I’m assessing the wrong things? What if my kids get to 7th grade and the teacher says “My God, did you learn anything last year?”
- I’ve been sick over the weekend. I was reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793 (which was really good by the way), and I came up with a word: bibliochondriac. I believe I am the person I am reading about. She has a fever? I have a slight fever! (I did…99 degrees…) Rough.
- No one seems to check in on me as the first year teacher. I know this is a compliment—they all forget I’m new at this. I’m not on their radar as a struggling teacher. I should be happy about this. Instead, I’m concerned I’m screwing up and no one is noticing.
- Some parents: Oy. The work is too easy one week and too hard the next week. My child needs this or that or shouldn’t have this grade. Some send emails at obscene hours of the day/night/weekend. I’ve been setting up conferences with some of them for next week, including one parent who has me in a tizzy. Luckily, one of our counselors will be there. She sent me this email when I thanked her for coming: I feel protected. I’m less concerned about this meeting now.
- I’ve started receiving emails as the middle school lacrosse coach. Huzzah.
The bolded. Yes. Thank you for verbalizing it. Holy moly — I was checked in on more last year as a first year teacher, and this year as a returning teacher, everyone assumes I’ve got it under control… even though I have a completely new position.
I know you really don’t want to go to school tomorrow. Alas, not only that you don’t want to, but that you’re dreading going to school. The bad dream last night was just that: a bad dream. Your kids will listen to you. No one will have to intervene. They like you. They respect you. They’re learning.
Yes, maybe picking up Patrick Allen’s Conferring and starting it tonight was not the greatest idea. You’re doing fine right now, and you just need to ask for help if you feel like you need it. It’s ok not to read it tonight. I know you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water, and sometimes like you’re actually drowning. (Seriously, though, that actual sensation that you’re drowning is not a good one.) When you’re having one of those moments, think of Catherine’s needlepoint: Good Enough Teacher. This year, that’s all you need to be. You’ll grow and become better than “good enough,” but for now, that’s all you’ve got to aim for— and that’s no small task.
Do not be stressed or alarmed by the complaints other, more experienced, teachers had on Friday. Do not be discouraged by the fact that your third grade students never stop talking. I know it is frustrating to feel like you’re trapped in a curriculum that you don’t like in spite of the fact that it’s not even a school-assigned curriculum. It is also frustrating to not have the freedom you want. But such is life. Stop second-guessing yourself.
Remember why you like this. You love morning meeting and singing with your kids. You cheer every time one of them vanquishes a new math problem. You love it when they explain their thinking to you, or won’t put their book down, or can’t wait to share what they’ve written. Your kids love you. They tell you you smile a lot and bring you art and letters and food.
Your first year is tough. You knew that. It’s tough and it’s isolating and it’s scary. But you’ll get through it, just like you always do. You can do it. Love yourself, trust yourself, and forgive yourself.
Love and confidence,
Wrote this just under a year ago (9/26/11), and I find it is still rather pertinent. There’s just something about this time of year, I suppose.
So, to all you teachers out there that are nearing/at a month in (or is that just me…), keep going. Keep trudging through. Good enough is enough, for now.
I have twins sisters in the same class period.
Learning names is going to be fuuuuunnnnn.
I have two sets of twin brothers in my class. Both are, yes, identical. I’ve been able to tell them apart pretty consistently.
Now that the gelato has arrived, I don’t have to stick close to home.
Since my BIL’s girlfriend is going to start her first teaching job in two weeks, and she has no idea what will be in her classroom, supply-wise, that I’d put together a bag of useful things that she might not know yet that she needs (so meta!).
She’s going to be teaching ninth grade physical science, and she lives locally, so I don’t have to ship things anywhere, I can just deliver the goodies next time I see her.
So far my list consists of:
- Expo dry erase markers (with pretty colors, not just red, black, blue, and green)
- Sticky notes
- Chunky pink erasers
- Pencils and pens
What else should be in her new teacher care package?
Included in the one I got from my mentor teacher (in addition to some of the above) was:
I think those are the things that I have used the most (aside from Expos) from my first-year teacher gift/care package. You might consider a travel mug if she’s a coffee or tea drinker, too. I used the heck out of mine this past year.
(Disclaimer: this is not a critique, just a wondering/observation!)
I’m noticing many teachers (mostly elementary) posting about classroom “themes.” I get what they are, but I’m wondering when and where this trend began. I try to leave my room as blank as possible at the beginning of the year so I can start putting up kid art and work right away, so the students feel invested in and ownership of the classroom. It is not MY classroom, it is OUR classroom.
Those of you who choose to use classroom themes — I’m wondering why you choose to have a theme and how you choose it. Is it based on your interests, something you saw on pinterest and thought was cute, or something else?
I’m just feeling perplexed by this, because it is not something I would ever have thought of doing (or likely ever do). Help me understand?
Thanks, Tumblr community, for helping me get through this amazing roller-coaster of a first year of teaching. It meant so much to me to know you were (and are) all behind me.
I will write more/reflect on the year later, but for now I’m utterly exhausted and redder than a tomato.
I’m going to cry. I already started to cry in the shower this morning. I’m so proud of my kids.
We’re going on a last-day-of-school hike- could there be a better way to end the year?
But yes. There will be tears. I’ve warned the kids already and resigned myself to my fate, although I will try to hold off as long as possible.
Email from a parent:
I can’t believe this year is almost over. Every time I talk to [name omitted] about summer and school being over he gets sad and says he will miss you not being his teacher. You have done such a great job with [name omitted] this year and I feel like he has grown so much. Thank you! You may have a hugger coming up to you next year when ever he sees you in the hall.
I was feeling pretty down on myself this week, but this email made all the difference. I love this student and his family. The good news is that he has a younger sibling.
Remember. Remember. You were so happy and so proud and loved all your kids.
So happy, so proud.
[Repeating until I forget how trying today was.]
Today, I was a part of something amazing at my school. I am the happiest, proudest teacher you could imagine tonight. My students (every single one of them) spoke eloquently and thoughtfully about their learning and growth to panels of adults this afternoon.
In the expeditionary learning model, students create portfolios of their work over the course of their school careers. They present these portfolios to panels of adults (teachers and members of the community) in third grade and sixth grade. It is an opportunity for students to reflect on their strengths, look back on their learning, and see where they can go next. Reflection is where much learning and growth happens, so it is an extremely valuable process for our students to go through. They have to articulate what they have learned, how they have grown, and what their goals are. After they present, the panel fills out a rubric for their portfolio and presentation. They also write a letter to each student, detailing what they noticed about their presentation and naming their areas of strength.
Over the last few weeks, we have spent a lot of time in our classroom practicing for these showcases. We practiced greeting the panelists, shaking hands, making eye contact, and reflecting aloud on their work and the culture of our school. This afternoon, between 1:45 and 4, all 70-some third grade students presented their portfolios to panels of 2-3 adults.
Some students were nervous; some were excited. Some had trouble preparing and weren’t sure they could do it. Today, every single one of my students had their moment to shine in front of a panel. They spoke eloquently about their work, answered reflective questions, and held their own in a situation many adults I know would panic over. Each of my students came out of their panel excited, happy, relieved… some were bouncing off the walls and others had a quieter aura of accomplishment. It was a true celebration of the students’ learning.
Everyone was smiling. Parents were cheerful; kids were beaming. Teachers, parents, and other panelists were complimenting the third grade teachers and our students. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate students this way. It is rare for students to have so much individual attention, or so much time to reflect and grow.
In a few weeks, I will have the chance to sit on the panels for our sixth graders, and I could not be more thrilled. I wish more schools valued this kind of experience and built in time for it.
In short, I am so, so proud today.
It was from a kindergarten teacher at our school. She’s been teaching for a long time and had one of my students in her kindie crew. He visits her kindergarten crew each afternoon. He helps out in the classroom and works with the little ones. It improves his mood and provides all of us a break from one another. It’s great.
Anyway, she caught me in the office and told me she had filmed this student reading aloud to her crew today, and that I need to see the video. She said that I must be doing some great reading teaching because while he was reading the book aloud, he stopped and asked the kindies to make predictions or share their thinking about the book.
I almost started to cry right there in the office. It is so nice to hear good things about your students and to have those nice things attributed to your teaching. Especially from someone experienced, whom you respect.
It was a good day.