it is so hard to be a first year teacher

So I’m going to be gone for a year, and my school had to find someone to take my place.  I met her recently, when I went to school with the math curriculum book that I had accidentally taken home with me in June.

It was quite odd to be back.  The weather here has been miserably hot, and it was the first day of school for first grade and up, and the office was total chaos.  I saw teachers I know, but no one had time to do much more than smile or say Hi.  I let the Princess (my fabulous principal) know that I was here, but stayed only for thirty seconds out of respect for everything she had going on.

I slipped into my old classroom and met the new teacher.  She is very nice, and she might be a very good teacher, but man.  She’s in the thick of it now.  She is young, inexperienced (this is her first year), tiny, and has a really quiet, tentative voice.  The voice is going to be the hardest part for her; it will be a while (years?) before she develops her teacher voice.

She was also completely overwhelmed.  The room wasn’t ready, and she didn’t have a daily or weekly schedule planned.  She barely knew where to start, and the little kids would be there in two short days…..

I ended up staying longer than I had planned, and I hope I helped a little bit.  We discussed the math curriculum, went over the daily schedule I used, talked about her prep periods and specials schedule, reviewed my morning meeting routines, and I sent her my theme planning schedule for last year as a model.

I also told her that she should forgive herself, now, and all year long, that the first year is always going to be hard, that it was hard for everyone, and we all understand and sympathize about what she is going through.  And…that she will have to work ten hour days for a long while, until it starts getting easier.

I wished her the best.  Then I left her behind, with her assistant and teacher coach in the room to help her.  I left the unbearably hot and stuffy building and went home to my peaceful, air-conditioned house.  And I decided that I don’t have to worry about her.  She will be fine, and I can just….let go.

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