Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Here is another guest post from Hannah Sansom! You already know that Hannah Sansom has the heart to support new teachers and if you want to hear more from her please sign up for the Multiplying Learning newsletter. Join the email list to receive all the monthly tidbits! 🎉 Complete this form to get on the list: https://forms.gle/ny5uckUzvHxBX3Jr6
Dear New Teacher,
You are also probably feeling a wide range of emotions as you start this new journey as an educator: overwhelmed, excited, nervous, competent, incompetent, anxious, ecstatic, etc. All of those feelings are normal...part of the new teacher journey.
By now you’ve been told stories about the first years, the experiences that come along with being a new teacher. Yes, it can be tough. But, most importantly, it is worth it! You have to live it to learn it. You have to go through the experience to learn the best practices for your learners, your environment, your style. It won’t all be a walk in the park. There will be hard moments. But remember these eight simple truths:
1. Expectations may not always hold true, but that isn’t all bad.
We all have expectations of what we envision for our first job and classroom. However, as life teaches us, those expectations do not always hold true. And guess what?! That’s ok! Things work themselves out and you will look back and realize those expectations that didn’t hold true were great learning experiences.
2. Disappointments happen, but stay positive and reflective.
Whether you feel like you let your students down, or things happen out of your control, stay positive and reflective. Own your mistakes. We ALL make mistakes. It is part of life. Don't let your mistakes and disappointments define who you are as a teacher and person. Find the positive. If you can not admit you are flawed, then how are you supposed to grow as a teacher of impact? Reflection is your most effective resource to bounce back from a disappointing experience and to remember those #edumagic moments! Use a planner, your lesson plans, a notebook, etc and write down improvements for next time and document the positives. You are going to do great things too, and they need to be remembered as well!
3. You are unstoppable.
It is inevitable that when you enter into the profession of teaching you are also getting onto a ride called the "emotional roller-coaster". Being an educator, you feel as though you have to carry your students’ baggage. These are the situations that college can't really prepare you for and catch you off guard. Just know when these situations arise, you ARE doing your best. Even though we want to, you will not be able to solve the world’s problems alone. But, you can give hope and support. Giving a child a glimpse of hope maybe just enough to help them get to the end of the tunnel. Just listen, do your best, and remember that you’re trying and that’s all that matters. You may be that child’s only resource or trusted adult.
4. You will make it all work.
There is a lot to figure out and pull together during the first years of teaching. Have faith friend, you will make it all come together. Make a plan of how to tackle the to-do lists: classroom set-up, lesson prep for the first weeks of school, and weekly prep after. Stick to your plan and create a means of managing your time wisely. Time management will only help you create a healthy balance of work and personal life.
5. We’re all in this together.
Do not take on the mentality of “I must do everything on my OWN!” Instead, think “Teamwork makes the dream work.” It is better to collaborate with others than to take on everything yourself. You will have many questions to ask...so ask them! Find your teacher group. Find the group that stays positive, that support you any way they can, and they are approachable. This teacher group you create will help you get through your first year. They will lift you up, guide you to help your students succeed, and give you advice. We would be lost without our teacher groups!
6. Have a plan for getting ready.
Sure, you've been pinning classroom decor and all the "cute" trends and can't wait to start yourself. Set-up is important, but a classroom is more than just the aesthetics. Make a list of things that need to be accomplished (bulletin boards, student desks, back-to-school letters, etc.) Cross things off as they get completed. Stay organized: both for yourself and for your students. How will you keep your things organized? What will the classroom routine look like? How will you keep students organized? Keep your classroom student-centered. Change your thinking from “How can I make my classroom cute?” to “How can I make my classroom functional?”
7. Don’t forget your WHY.
Some days are harder than others and on those days, you may question why you decided to teach. These are the days when it is important to hold on to your calling as a teacher, on to your purpose for being in front of students. These are the days that it is imperative to hold tight to your people, your words, and your inspiration. Who do you aspire to be like? Who comforts you on your tough days? What words motivate you? How do you uplift yourself?
8. Check yourself, are you being a bucket filler or dipper?
Words matter. Remember the toothpaste analogy we teach our students? Just like toothpaste can’t get back into the tube after being squeezed out, our words can’t go back into our mouth once said. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Also, stay positive with others aren’t. Don’t get drawn into negative talk and moods. Stay positive. Find your happy place.
Congratulations, new teacher! You are about to start an amazing journey. Believe in yourself. Have confidence. Find your people. And, have an amazing year!
Connect with Hannah
Hannah is a fourth-year teacher. She teaches third-grade math, has a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education, an MSEd in Reading and Math, and is a co-author of the recent EduMagic Shine On A Guide for New Teachers. She loves her coffee and donuts and adventures outdoors. Follow her on Instagram (@h.sansom), Twitter (@hannahjsansom), and WordPress (https://multiplyinglearning4all.wordpress.com/).