Monday, September 28, 2009

First Year Stress

From the Apple

I think Courtney is feeling the kind of stress that every new teacher feels. She will spend the year in "survival mode." She's right. There is so-o-o-o much to learn. The truth of the matter is that she really can't learn it all in the first year. For the rest of her career she will continue to learn - adding depth to her knowledge base. Actually the greatest thing she can bring to her profession is being a lifelong learner.

Of course, just saying that it's hard and that you can't learn it all in the first few weeks, doesn't help you get through. My advice is to search out the people at your school that are willing to help. Every new teacher is assigned a mentor, but even a mentor has limited time. They have their own students and responsibilities. You may need more than one teacher, even two or three teacher friends who are willing to give you some time, and ask questions. If you ask and you still don't understand, find someone else to ask until you feel like you have a handle on the situation. And don't play the "oh yes I know how to do that" because you are worried about what others will think, when you don't have any idea how to do it. Just admit when you're not sure about something. This especially is the year you can get away with it!

Also remember that veteran teachers sometimes forget to tell you things. It's not personal, they just forget. They may not know that nobody has explained to you where certain materials are kept or how certain traditions work. You just need to remember how it feels not to know so that you can use those feelings to help the next first year teacher!

Also know that your co-workers and your Principal really understand that you are a first year teacher and while you may have enthusiasm, you don't have experience under your belt. They all have their own first year stories. Believe it or not, they didn't look so calm and confident in their first year either!
Courtney's first "teacher" picture.

1 comment:

  1. When I think back to my first year, I always feel guilty about my lack of knowledge. I tend to say a quick prayer for forgiveness because I feel like I failed them. However, also over the years I have figured out that I did a lot of things right. I cared for them and gave them my best. As long as you continue to grow and learn, that is all anyone can ask of you. When you stop caring that you don't know it all, that is when you should stop teaching.