The first year of teaching is hard! It’s tough to find your way and learn to juggle so many demands on your time and energy. With some effort, though, you can not just survive, but thrive your first year teaching.
Find A Mentor
First, seek out a mentor who will support your teaching efforts. This can be concrete things, like helping to write lesson plans, but it can also be emotional support, like helping you to cope with a challenging interaction with a parent. A mentor has walked in your shoes before and they can give you guidance to help you figure out how to thrive your first year teaching.
Don’t Lose Your Life Outside School
It can be tempting to lose contact with friends, stop all your favorite hobbies, and just focus completely on work. This isn’t sustainable, though. Remember, teaching is a marathon, not a sprint! While some things might fall out of your life, commit to maintaining the activities and friendships you need most to deal with stress. You may even consider taking up a new hobby, like an exercise routine.
Pick Small Goals for Yourself
Your first year of teaching can make you feel really down on yourself sometimes. It’s hard to be new at something and still learning! Do yourself a favor and help yourself to focus on the positives, that is, look at the ways in which you are learning to thrive your first year teaching. Set small, achievable goals each week (like, “I am going to praise 10 students today,” or “I am going to try ___ when my class is loud.”). You can even keep a small journal where you write down these successes with the goal of seeing yourself in a more positive light.
Love and Stand Up for your Students
This is one of the keys for how to thrive your first year teaching. You probably got into teaching because you love kids and love learning, right? Many teachers, when stressed, will begin to turn away from their students. They will begin to blame kids for things small and large. It’s okay to be frustrated sometimes (after all, it is part of your job to help kids to learn right from wrong), but always love and stand up for each and every one of your students. Be one of their biggest allies and biggest champions.
Trust Yourself as a Teacher
It takes time to find your voice. Learn to trust yourself and your instincts, though. If you let your love of students and learning guide you, you will usually be just fine. 🙂