Survive Your First Year of Teaching
You ever hear of the five stages of grief? Apparently, teaching has a very similar path. I’m joking of course, but most first-year teachers find that they follow a teaching path five with five distinct stages: anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, and reflection. This path isn’t meant to deter you, it’s to show you that the first year is the hardest, but you can definitely get through it! Read on and take a look at each stage.
Disillusionment is the next and lowest stage. I wish I could say that my first year of teaching was perfect, but I did become depressed and I seriously questioned my abilities. Some of your biggest concerns will be classroom management, curriculum pacing, parent conferences, and your own sanity! After you’ve taught for six months and had some school holidays, you’ll be able to rejuvenate. You’ll find your idealism but you’ll have a better perspective on classroom realities.
Your anticipation may manifest itself as anxiety and excitement. One of my professors said that many first-year teachers tend to glamorise their position in their heads and make tremendous goals that are great in theory, but pretty difficult in actuality. This anticipation is good because it will carry you through the first few weeks of school. After the first month, you’re going to get overwhelmed and survival mode will hit! Seasoned teachers have their curriculum down, but you’ll have to spend lots of time figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
As the school year wraps up, you’ll be able to take a breather! This is a time for reflection. My sister thought she would quit after her first year, but she gave it one more go and her second year was significantly better. I too, had a rough first year, but the second was so much better. I really reflected on what I learned and how I handled my classroom, and I was able to adjust my teaching vision accordingly.