Dear First-Year Teacher, Hold on, It Gets Better
Dear First-Year Teacher,
Wow, you’ve made it to March, even though you doubted it would happen. For that, you should give yourself a round of applause, and a pat on the back. There have been plenty of days and plenty of nights that you doubted your career choice. Maybe you should have become a doctor, or lawyer like your mother wanted you to. But, you chose to be a professional educator because you believed you could be of service and make a difference.
However, teaching is a hard job that comes with lots of obstacles. Teaching is not the same as what you see in Hollywood movies. It’s a fast-paced dog eat dog world, where only the strong survive. I know there are many days when you find yourself besieged on all sides. Your administrator wants you to step your game up, parents are complaining about their child’s grades, and your students are out of control. But don’t panic, take a deep breath; it’s all in a day’s work.
Don’t worry because if you’ve made it this far, I promise you it’s going to get better. It might not be apparent now, but by year 2 or 3 you will start to get your bearings, and your pedagogical, classroom management, and leadership skills will get sharper.
The parents that once derided you as someone that didn’t quite understand how to respond to their kid’s educational needs will come back to you and apologize. The administrator that once asked you to step your game up will be announcing you as a teacher of the year. See teaching is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. As the years go by, you will become more confident, and gain skills that you never thought you would possess.
Well, that’s it for now. I just wanted to send you a little note and offer you some words of encouragement. As a first-year teacher, I was unsure of myself and felt like I picked the wrong profession. I wanted to quit, but I decided to persevere. I went on to obtain a Masters and Ph.D. in education and became a master teacher by my third year. I went on to become a professor of education and Dean of a School of Education. That would never have happened if I gave on my chosen profession.
I wish you love, happiness, and longevity in the field of education. Don’t give up now; we need you!
Dr. Matthew Lynch