In Meeting My “First Year Self” from A Relief Teacher's Journey,Michael Graffin shares some strategies and resources to survive the first year of teaching. He gives some advice that he wished someone had told him. I totally agree with everything he has mentioned and wanted to add a few more things of advice to what he mentions. Please check out his post and read the advice he gives too.
Keep a Journal: I really wish someone had told me to keep a journal of my years of teaching. I kept one the first year and then life got in the way. Now that I look back of my 30 years in the public school, I really wish I had kept a journal every year.
Prevent burn out in advance: I know that most teachers get burned out after five years. If you know this in advance, look for ways to avoid it. Get a life outside of school. Learn a new hobby. Have an outside interest.
Learn something from your students: Look for something new that you didn’t know before. This makes every day a brand new start. Learning from my students was invigorating and exciting. It might be a lesson in behavior or it might be a lesson in new technology. Knowing that every day is a new learning experience can keep you on your toes.
Exercise: Do some kind of regular exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes even if it is only getting out and walking. This helps keep a positive attitude in your life. When you are feeling down, exercise. When you are feeling frustrated, exercise. When you are feeling exhausted, exercise. When you are feeling great, exercise.
Don’t Give Up: Sometimes it is easier to give up than to plug on. But don’t. I remember hearing someone tell me that when I reached the end of my rope, to tie another know in it. Remember all the hard work you put into training for this career and the reason you went into it. Eventually you will get into a rhythm and it will be easier and you will end up enjoying it. Too many people give up before they reach this stage.
Ask for Help: As a new teacher, you feel like you are already in a fishbowl and everyone is just watching you and waiting for you to fail. Actually the opposite is true. Everyone is just waiting for you to ask for help. They are waiting to catch you when you fall. They don’t want to offer help in case you see it as their lack of faith in what you can do. When you don’t know something or you need support, ask for it. There are people out there who want to be there for you.
What other advice would you give to new teachers? Please share.