First Year of Teaching: End-of-Year Reflection

I took a few days to really sit and reflect on my first year of teaching. There were some moments that I was ready to walk out of the door, but now that the year is over, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I finally decided that I would speak on it, because one thing I feel that new teachers should do is express their opinions. Too many people ignore or dismiss new teachers because we’re the “rookies or inexperienced.” However, an effective leader knows that great ideas can come from anyone regardless of their years of experience. I don’t want to make this post super long so below is a list of suggestions new teachers should take advantage of to make the year successful.

  1. Ask questions
    1. even if you feel like it’s a dumb question, ask the question. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration because I guarantee there’s an easier way to do it.
  2. Find a mentor
    1. Whoever this person maybe is going to be your biggest ally and supporter in your building. I cannot stress the importance of a mentor enough. For those days you just want to give up, need to cry, need to laugh, or need some encouragement, that’s the person to go to.
    2. If your mentor is really THAT good, they will drop so many gems in your lap. GET A MENTOR. 
  3. Stay AWAY from the negative Nancys
    1. Sorry, but they exist. You’ll be able to spot them quickly because they NEVER have anything positive to say. Stay far, far, away from them. Eventually their negative energy will begin to rub off on you and you don’t want that.
  4. It’s NOT you
    1. Educator programs really don’t prepare us for all the things we have to deal with. You will wear so many hats and it’s overwhelming. The best thing you can do is come in everyday with the mindset to make a positive impact.
  5. Remember why you chose this profession
    1. You clearly have a passion for education and children so remember that on the bad days.
    2. If you decide after the first year, or 2, maybe 3 that teaching is not for you, it’s okay to move on. You’re not helping yourself or the students by staying.

The biggest downfall for me is that overall I felt more like a behavior interventionist than a teacher. It was never just one student. It was always the same cluster of students and nothing seem to deter the negative behavior so eventually I gave up. In my mind, I didn’t sign up to counsel bad behavior. I didn’t go to school for that. Needless to say, it was definitely a lesson learned.

Like I said, there were moments that I was ready to walk out the door, but my mentor and my teacher friends kept me in the game. A simple, “how are you doing today?” went a long way this year. Find your group of colleagues who will pour positivity and encouragement into you. I promise, you will need it. The first year will be challenging, but you will survive!

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