I remember my first year teaching as if it were yesterday. After moving across the country to be with my husband and graduating straight out from college, I found myself dropping off my resume from one elementary school to the next hoping and praying that someone would give me a call.
After a long summer of job-hunting and having to pass up a position because my certifications had not been completely transferred over yet, I finally landed an interview and was offered a position 15 minutes before Meet-the-Teacher Night!
While the nervousness of being a new teacher was quickly forgotten by the excitement of finally having my own classroom, I didn’t realize what was ahead of me.
The truth is, being a new teacher can be wonderful and exciting, yet it can also be frightening and difficult. From learning the curriculum to the culture of the school to working on a new team to responding to emails to staying after hours to doubting and second-guessing yourself at night and to all the things in between, everything is new. And what a learning curve it was!
Furthermore, being the new teacher also means feeling like everyone’s eyes are on you. Everyone wants to know who you are, how you are, what you do, and what you have to offer as an educator and teammate. As the year goes on, it does become less overwhelming and you will remind yourself on a daily basis: “Next year will be better. Next year will be better.”
So after nine years of teaching for the same district, I moved across town along with my kids and husband, and then I found myself as the new teacher again.
New district, new school, new team, and a new grade. What a thrill and blessing it is to get out of my comfort zone and go back to a grade level that I once taught and be part of a new school and team who have welcomed me with open arms! However, the feeling of being the new teacher on campus has reminded me so much of my first year and the lessons that I have learned along the way.
The truth is, your list of to-dos will never be completely checked off as you will add more and more things on it each day. Do one thing at a time and simply do them the best that you can. Everyone down the hallway has a long list too. It’s ok to feel frustrated and even cry from time to time because you feel overwhelmed. Let it out, dry your tears, work hard, and move on.
You got this. You have worked so completely hard for this position! You were born to do this! You may not know everything about the curriculum and you’re still learning about all the new programs and textbooks, but your students don’t know that. Plan as much as you can and then go out there and teach as a pro! The more confident you feel as a teacher, the more effective you will be for your students.
Teaching can be isolating. Reach out and befriend other teachers and professionals who can help you on your new learning experience. Some of the best people I know are teachers whom I have worked alongside and are now my friends. Their experience inspired me, their wisdom humbled me, and their knowledge pushed me to be the teacher that I am today.
Like all things, this feeling of being new will pass. So learn from it and grow from it. You got this. You were born for this.
Ha is a 1st grade teacher turned 2nd grade teacher in Texas! She is in her 10th year of teaching and believes in hands-on, interactive, and differentiated instruction! She is also a wife to her high school sweetheart, mommy to her two sweet babies, and an avid traveler with babies in tow. For more fun teaching ideas and high-quality resources, you can find her @happydaysinfirstgrade on Instagram, Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, and her blog!