So, I know what you all are thinking - there is no way this pre-k Special Education major who griped all last year is saying that she likes intermediate. Well, mark my words and remember this day, because that is exactly what I am saying. It may be the fact that we are straight grades this year (I'm just 3rd grade instead of 3rd-4th-5th) or maybe it's the fact that I am in my second year and I am able to use my knowledge and resources from my crazy first year, or maybe it's that I have 13 kids, but I truly do love it. And yes, I remember that third grade is a stressful FCAT grade but I feel really confident. I have such a small class and a great team leader who I work with side by side each day to come up with the best skills and curriculum that is going to best show the full potential and success of my 3rd graders. I can say that I am truly blessed this year to not only be teaching the same grade as my team leader but also because she is so knowledgeable and helpful. What a difference a great mentor makes! Together we are making great strides. Of course, this is my second year and I don't really get assigned a mentor, but that is really what my team leader is. I really think new teachers need three years of support instead of just one. The guidance that she has given me and the ideas that she lets me share have helped me to grow. She really knows how to boost my confidence and helps me to build on my strengths while helping to improve my weaknesses. What a gift!
I always thought my first year was so difficult because I was not made for intermediate, but I have now come to realize, just like my students in an assessment, the difficulty comes from a lack of background knowledge and confidence. This year has been much less stressful and much more productive for both me and my students. I know now that when things get tough that I can make it through. So for all you first year teachers - You will grow and become more knowledgeable and successful in your skills. The stress WILL start to vanish and the tears will stop flowing. Until then just know that it is normal to feel completely overwhelmed and stressed out. And don't be ashamed or embarrassed let it out and let those tears fall. It is all part of being a first year teacher.