Dear future Ms Hainey,
Congratulations on making it through your first term as a teacher. Your working memory is shot to pieces and who knows what has been encoded and can be retrieved. Bless. So I have written down as many of your perspectives on your first term as I can conjure for you to look back on and see how far you’ve come (naaw warm fuzzies).
– Your experiences in the classroom only made you cry twice and both times it wasn’t actually at school (pat yourself on the back for that one). Yes there were moments when you sat at your desk in the staff room and wanted to cry but you didn’t (on that note don’t stop taking your homeopathic and naturopathic supplements).
– Don’t be so hard on yourself for not networking more at PD events. It doesn’t make you feel better. In fact it makes you feel worse. On that note stop comparing yourself to them and seeing yourself as inferior or a fraud. It might seem like their students are more motivated and engaged in learning but who knows what it is really like? God believes in and has equipped you – get on board girl!
– Apparently (hopefully by now you are more convinced of this) when students don’t follow instructions or perform poorly it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is your fault and that you didn’t teach them properly. You can’t do everything for them. There is only so much you can do. At the end of the day they have to practice self-regulation and do the work.
– Remember that time in your first week when you drove home using the back roads for the first time and there was a turtle in the middle of the road? You stopped, paused to try and comprehend the situation and burst into hysterical tired laughter. You needed that. Take every moment you can to embrace your goofy side.
– Well done for resisting the urge to tell a student to “come out of the closet” when he was having a laughing fit in your storeroom.
– Focus more on what went well and the positive feedback you get from students e.g. “That was a really solid lesson Miss…”, “Be quiet, she’s actually really good!”, “You seem like you’ve been teaching for ages”. Remember that student who came to you anxious and teary and asked you for help because “you’re actually nice”. You made him more comfortable and went the extra mile. Keep doing that. That is what you’re there for. Yes you have students who haven’t responded and continue to be challenging. But that is inevitable in teaching. Keep trying different strategies and keep persevering. Focus more on the students who have responded and as a result are more engaged in learning and are more positive about themselves and others.
– Pray for your students, especially those in your home room.
– It is ok to ask for help but go to more effort to find out yourself first.
– You weren’t expecting your year 10 class to be so hard. Remember that lesson? Give yourself cudos every time that doesn’t happen again. Student surveys are a great idea.
– Don’t forget how gracious God has been to you. He has given you a permanent full-time history teaching position at a great school where you can be open about your faith. He has given you a license and a car to make this possible. Even though you want to move He has given you a safe and comfortable place to live that isn’t far from school and you don’t have to pay rent. He has provided for you financially. He has given you your own classroom that is close to your staff room with the female staff toilet right next door. He has given you Christ-like colleagues to guide and support you. He has given you woofles to cuddle after a week of teaching and a family who are proud of you for getting to where you are. He has given you friends who have been very patient and understanding with you being so distant and out of it. He has given you the Holy Spirit who is with you everywhere you go especially when you’re teaching.
– And finally, for a first year out teacher, who wasn’t even looking for let alone preparing for a full-time teaching position, “you’ve done an excellent job” (yes I’m quoting your HOD because we both know that you have a tendency to rely on the affirmation and opinions of others but hopefully you’ve gotten over that more by now).
– Don’t forget that God put you there and He doesn’t make mistakes. BOOM!
Post Term 1 Ms Hainey