I just read a beautiful reflection letter by a great “newer” teacher @primaryteachNC
She wrote a letter to her first year self. What better way to reflect upon your growth and help others grow than by sharing your mistakes and successes. So, inspired by her open, honest reflection, here I go.
Dear First Year Me,
Congratulations, you have been working hard for this for the past three years and you deserve it. This will be a lonely, challenging endeavor for you.
Your class will be looked at and judged negatively without anyone knowing them. You will hide the flaws in public and embrace them in the classroom. Each day will be filled with joy and sadness. All of your students have a story, and you will write a few inspirational chapters in their book. Many will see your struggles and challenges and walk the other way and you are going to be alone on an island when that door shuts… Unless…
Unless you open your door and walk outside to seek help. There are many good helpful people at your school, most of whom will help, but you have to ask! Unless you stop fearing that they will think you do not know what you are doing. They already know you’re a new teacher, you don’t usually know! Unless you get out of your classroom and start building relationships, you will be very alone all year! Except…
Your kids and parents will love you more than you could ever imagine. They will shower you with praise and hugs. You will be the standard by which every teacher will be judged for the rest of their lives. Even though you are still figuring things out, you will grow along with them, and by the end, your educational sword will have been sharpened by the rock you found yourself with.
You will make many mistakes, lose your patience, teach some awful lessons, and hit your maximum point for frustration, and you will learn from and improve from all of it! You will become a strong teacher, find your values as an educator, and become an advocate for kids, even if it means you have to stand up to teachers, parents , and administrators.
You will be inspired and disillusioned. You will be amazed by what 5&6 year old kids can do. You will be floored by the love they have for you. And you will Never forget the little lives, nor them you, because you have left a mark on each other!
No one expects you to succeed with this class, when you do, they will take notice. Parents, Teachers, and your administrator will notice the work you do. They will continue to support you. Parents volunteered to support your employment at the board meeting so you could keep your job for another year.
You will go through that each of your first three years and come out on top in the end. You are destined for great things, future parents will consider you some sort of “child whisperer” asking you to “fix” their child even though we both know that these children are not broken. You will continue to make mistakes, learn, and grow. In the end, you will be a teacher you can be proud of being.
So don’t give up, don’t let the isolation and frustration get you discouraged. Your job is too important. Your future is too important to too many kids. Keep your head up and your heart open. Keep supporting and caring about kids and the rest will work itself out.
Yourself 6 years later!