Thursday, September 20, 2007

Don’t Give Up!

I just heard from a friend that she is having a rough time her first year of teaching and wants to give up. It had me thinking about how many times I have felt that way and how did I overcome this feeling.

First of all, I have taught at 5 different schools so I know how hard it is to start new. I do know that the first 6 months were the hardest at each new school but I was so stubborn that I refused to “lose”! You know all those clichés that state “Things will get worse before they better…” Well, it is true. Know that it will happen, expect that it will happen, brace yourself, and hang in there. Do not give up! Once you find your footing and determine your own style, things will get better. But it is up to you to make it happen.

Kids are going to do their best to make you cry. In fact that is like an award if they can succeed and I refused to let them win that award. Sometimes you wonder if it is all worth this misery and for me, as I look back on all I have accomplished, I realize it was worth it because I made a difference.

I was reading the Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell and her first years of teaching were pretty tough too. She had some rough students and didn’t seem to have much support of her colleagues but she decided what here goals were and worked towards them. Her main goal was to make a difference.

Isn’t that why people become teachers? Isn’t making a difference a major goal for a teacher? If you quit now, will you be able to make a difference some other way? If you choose another way, will it make you feel you achieved your goals? If the answer is yes, then maybe you need to look at another career. But if the answer is no or you aren’t sure, then maybe you need to stick with this one and not give up.

When things get tough, don’t wallow in negative thoughts about how bad things are. Try to think of one good thing about your situation. Then the next day, add another positive thought. If you need to write them down, keep a list to reflect on. Having positive thoughts will really help your outlook on the situation. If you are saying that this is impossible, it is because the negative thoughts are crowding out the positive ones. Find other teachers and ask them to tell you why they enjoy their job. You might find a common thread to all of their comments.

I see the world having a shortage of teachers and I really hope that you don’t give up without giving it lots of thought. I worry about our young people of today if there aren’t enough caring teachers out there. If you really want to make a difference, than the world needs teachers like you.


heather said...

Pat, I am LOVING your teaching blog!! I am agreeing with everything you say! It's like you are putting into words lots of things that I think too :)

I think I have understood your instructions about google reader, and now I have a igoogle home page, which I never knew existed! lol All your new posts will pop up for me now. Thanks again!
Heather (mercerph)

Farhana said...

Hi Pat,

I agree. As a Staff Development Teacher in Maryland, I said something similar to a teacher who came to me on a verge of tears. I told her if she wanted easy, she chose the wrong career; however, the work won't get less, but it will get easy when she learns to prioritize and manage. The first year is the biggest learning curve and if she can make it with support, she will be fine.

loonyhiker said...

heather: Thanks for reading my blog! I really love using Google Reader so I don't miss anything important from my friends.

loonyhiker said...

farhana: I'm so glad that you were honest with her and didn't tell her that work would get less. In fact, it seems the better you get as a teacher, the more work they pile on you! Prioritizing is a must! Thanks for reading my blog!

Kevin said...

I am doing my student teaching now. Not even a real teacher yet with the responsibility that comes with it, and I get fearful of failure. Now mind you that is not at all my personality, but when you venture into the unknown those fears can develop. I am encouraged by your straight forward look at what we all feel at different times. It serves as a reminder, to follow your heart and what got you into this profession, and a reason to forge forward, and indeed make a difference. Thank you for your encouragement.

loonyhiker said...

@Kevin I'm glad you found this useful. I think that was the hardest thing for me was to talk with experienced teachers who say they went through the same things as I did. If you ever have a question or need to vent or need another does of encouragement, feel free to contact me!