This post originally appeared on the blog Hanging Around in Primary.
This is an open letter to those teachers who, like myself, have been teaching for awhile and can see the end of their career coming.
You have been teaching long enough to see trends come and go and then come back again. What is new to some is what you recognize as a re-packaging of something that was “new” earlier in your career. This is your opportunity to step up and share your knowledge and let people learn from your experiences. Resist the temptation to point out that this trend, whatever it may be, is old news. Take the lead.
You have been teaching long enough to also know that you don’t need to jump on the bandwagon of every new thing that comes down the line. You have experience on your side and “know” what works for kids. If there is a choice, pick and choose what you know will work best for kids and quietly leave it at that.
You have been teaching long enough to know there will also be others in your building ready to give you advice. Perhaps it is the new teacher who is fresh from grad school and wants to bring you up to speed on the “newest trends”. It might be the teacher down the hall who feels like he or she is an expert and feels the strong urge to let everyone know that. Don’t let this faze you. You have been around for a while and know what you are doing. Don’t second guess yourself. You are successful; you have made it this far in your career. Don’t let others make you believe otherwise.
You have been teaching long enough to know that you can’t do it all and hopefully have reached the stage in your career to accept that as the reality of teaching and let it go. You will see many teachers in your building totally overwhelmed by the need to be all things and do all things. Reach out to them and speak from experience. My advice is to focus on what you can do and do it really well. Then work on growing in other curriculum areas. I for one feel like I am a very strong literacy teacher but know that I still have room for growth in social studies and the sciences. We continue to grow as educators throughout our entire career. Embrace your strengths.
You have been teaching long enough that you can see that retirement date in the not-so-distant future. For me it is under 10 years now. I have 22 years of teaching under my belt. I believe that is quite an accomplishment. As each new year dawns, I hope you feel the same excitement of setting up your room and preparing for a new group of students. I hope you continue to love coming to work each day and teaching and learning with your students. You are at a point in your career when you can see the end but you are enjoying the ride until you get there. Embrace the journey!
Click on any of the links below to visit the blog post about each of these other teachers. Chances are you’ll be in one of these shoes sooner than you realize!
Christina Hermer is a 1st Grade teacher in Ontario, Canada. She has been teaching since 1994 and has had the good fortune to work with 1st graders for many of those years. She enjoys creating curriculum resources for learners that are hands-on and engaging, which can be found in her TpT store. Christina loves to share about how she uses those resources in her classroom and other practical teaching tips on her blog Hanging Around in Primary. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for lots of teacher tips, tricks, and ideas!