Post # 1
I am new to the bee (this is my first post on here). I’m 23 years old, but I feel a little behind my peers. I have an Elementary Ed degree and graduated last year. For the past year I have been working as a director for a before and after care center (nothing like teaching, it’s more just having fun with the kids). I just started filling out applications to teach for various counties in my state and I am freaking out.
I think the reason I didn’t apply to many places last year when I graduated is because I’m not sure I’m ready to be a teacher. I had great grades at college and a great experience student teaching overall. In my program, you only do 2 weeks of full-time teaching. Most days I would teach 3 lessons a day and I was always involved in planning/conferences/etc. But, during the 2 weeks of full time teaching I was STRESSED out. I also got a bit unorganized with some of my lessons and although I got through it and have wonderful letters of recommendation from all of my mentors I don’t know if I can handle it.
This is making me feel so upset and I guess I’m just looking to see if there are any teachers out there who felt scared/ unprepared for their first year of teaching?? What was your first year like? How do you feel now after getting through it and do you have any advice for me?
I’d also like to add in here that it’s not that I doubt I want to be a teacher. I absolutely love working with students, and even on my most stressful days I was happy to be in the classroom. I just don’t know if I’m organized enough and smart enough to handle it. I just keep thinking of all the students who were below grade level that I struggled to help improve and students with behavior problems and I’m freaked out that I won’t be able to handle it when I am all alone in a classroom. On top of that I feel like it looks bad that I haven’t been working as a teacher this year and it’s going to make it more difficult to find a job.
Most of the girls in my graduating class have jobs and were so excited to start teaching and I just couldn’t relate because I feel more SCARED than excited. I can’t be the only person who is this nervous, right?……right?
Post # 3
My Fiance is a teacher, just wrapping up his 2nd year and ready to start his 3rd, and I can tell you – the first two weeks of full-time teaching are the worst. He was near tears the first week because he had no resources, no support, etc, and he was at a great school (but teaching new classes). The second week was better. And each week was better after that.
So . . . don’t let those hairy first two weeks get you down. Your first two weeks of teaching are likely to be your worst, but it gets better from there. And EVERYONE, EVERYONE I know who started teaching was TERRIFIED at the beginning. Teaching is a big responsibility, and being afraid that you’ll get it wrong means you care enough to get it right.
Hugs and cookies if you need/want them, but don’t worry – fear is normal.
Post # 4
@zumbaista: Thanks so much for your reply! I feel a lot better already 🙂 . Glad I’m not the only one who has had some tough weeks.
Post # 5
I am finishing up my 13th year teaching. It’s HARD and your first year is the hardest of all.
The biggest issue the first year is TIME – you have to create everything. You have to figure out what to do each day and get through all the required material. It’s fun, but it’s a lot of time involved in planning and organizing and grading.
IT GETS BETTER! The longer you teach, especially if you teach the same grade, the more you have “in the bank”. You can use stuff you did the year before – keep it the same or slightly change it to fit this group of kids. but the basics are done. You aren’t starting from scratch.
And yes, even after 13 years, I’m afraid I’ll mess them up because I really really want to be good at this job. And I am. I know that because my former students tell me I am. And that’s what counts – making a difference in a kid’s life
Post # 6
I’m student teaching in the fall, so I am not a full-time teacher yet. Nonetheless, I understand where you’re coming from. I am both excited and terrified just for student teaching, and to actually have my own classroom is a bit nerve wracking too. So much of teaching is planning and organizing.
Every person I’ve heard from has said the first year is rough, no doubt. You’re planning everything out for the first time afterall. But the second year it gets better, and if you’re in the same grade, all you do is modify your plans and make them better. The third year improves, as does the fourth, etc.
So don’t be afraid to jump in. I’m sure you’ll be stressed, but you’ll get the hang of teaching on your own. Just keep reminding yourself that it will pass and eventually it will indeed get easier. You have to take that first step though.
Post # 7
@newwebb: i”m in my second year. I actually had a great first 2 years so far.. September and June were the hardest.. Got in at 7am left at 6pm to do paperwork.. And i only teah 1st grade. Work is work you just have to quickly find your happy medium and try your best to not stress out and control situations.. And be super organized somehow!
hurry up so youll have your first year under your belt lOl!
Post # 8
@Glasgowbound: I think you’re right I’m mostly worried about not having time to get everything done. I guess I just need to suck it up and accept the fact that it’s hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. Thanks for the reply!
@bowsergirl: Thanks, yeah I know it will get better with time. Just have to get started.
@oangeo: Thanks. The organization part is going to be the hardest for me I think, but I might as well learn to be organized now. And you are right the faster I start the faster I’ll have finished my first year haha.
Post # 9
You’re much more prepared than I was! The first year is definitely overwhleming, but here are the things I wish someone had told me about.
Two FABULOUS resources:
http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/ — very helpful, effective, low-stress behavior plan.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Together-Teacher-Ahead-Organized/dp/111813821X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368545610&sr=8-1&keywords=the+together+teacher — great book on teacher organization
Those would have saved me many Sunday night tears! Some other things you can do:
-Apply to be an “associate teacher” at schools that have them. This isn’t the same as student teaching, it just means you’ll be paired with a more experienced lead teacher and you’ll have a bit less responsibility. You may teach some subjects but the other teacher will be there to support you. (Some “assistant teacher” positions are like this too.)
-Try to find a school with the curriculum mostly planned out so you can focus more on discipline; It’s usually the hardest thing for first years.
-Start your planning well in advance (before you’re required to come in). It’s difficult to stay caught up in planning, grading, paperwork, phonecalls, etc. A couple of weeks over the summer can give you a nice head start.
-Try to make a little time to talk with veterans and just watch them at work. I’ve learned way more from observation than any professional development session.
-Fake it til you make it! (confidence and calm)
I think most new teachers severely underestimate how much work is involved and the importance of being organized. You may have an easier time because you’re already aware of the issues. You just have to go into it kind of like becoming a mom– know you’re going to make mistakes, everybody does, you’ll learn from them and move on. I can’t say, “Don’t be afraid” because I know you will, but you can do it!