From the desk of The Magnolia Teacher
(with the help of Michael Scott Memes…)
Dear New Teacher,
CONGRATULATIONS!!! The moment you’ve been waiting for is swiftly approaching! You’ll soon have your own classroom, curriculum, and little humans to teach! This is THE MOST EXCITING time, but also equally stressful, so I thought I would give you some tips for your new adventure…
Tip #1: YOU ARE NOT PREPARED FOR THIS.
I don’t care what college you went to, books you’ve read, or professional developments you’ve been through- You’re not prepared for what is about to happen. And you know what? THAT’S OKAY, because YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT. You’re going to be just fine, you want to know why? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you did not choose this profession- this profession chose you. That means that you were made for this. You have exactly what you need inside of you. I truly think that teaching is 90% instinct. When you’re faced with a situation that you weren’t prepared for during college classes, your instincts take over. You’ll know what to do when a kid talks back to you or when your class will not stop talking or how to teach fractions to catch your students’ attention etc. etc. The rest you’ll learn in time. Which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #2: YOU’RE GOING TO MESS UP.
…. and that’s totally fine. Lessons will crash and burn, kids will not understand the instructions, and your principal might have a talk with you about changes you need to make. Take a deep breath, because it’s totally fine to mess up. If you’re anything like me, that sentence probably just made you cringe. I went into teaching so gung-ho ready to goooooo trying to be this perfect teacher and I found out real quick that I was NOT and that I needed to chill the heck out. I cannot tell you how many not-so-great choices I’ve made in my 5 years of teaching, and I will probably make more next year. I don’t know why in teaching there’s this expectation that we have to be perfect or everyday our lessons have to be perfect or yada yada yada- NO GIRL. We’re going to mess up, and it’s OKAY. Learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up and try, try again.
Tip #3: YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL OVERWHELMED.
Lesson plans, grading, planning, meetings, teaching, more meetings, modifications, sleep, and the list goes on and on! Teaching is like a rollercoaster that you keep riding over and over. The craziness never stops. Ever heard the term TEACHER TIRED? It’s a real thing. I never believed it until I experienced it. Holy guacamole, is it a real kind of tired. Teaching is overwhelming. So what is the key to keeping up with all the things?? Time management. I cannot tell you how important time management is. It’s everything. When I say time management I also mean balancing your personal and professional life. My first couple years of teaching I brought work home every single night. Grading, planning, notebooking, something. I always had my work on my mind and my mind on my work- this burnt me out reeeeeal quick. When I finally learned how to balance work and personal life, I experienced relief and a renewed love for my job. Listen, everything does NOT have to be perfect. Did you hear that in the back?? EVERYTHING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. (Y’all. I know. I am a perfectionist and I like to believe that I can make all the things perfect, but in reality, it just can’t be. I’m learning to accept this more and more every year that passes.) It’s okay not to get your papers graded the day after. It’s okay if all 130 students don’t love you. It’s okay to plan your lessons a week at a time or not have your school year planned out in a super cutesy layout with the perfect font choice.
Also, to help the overwhelming feeling, take care of yourself. YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP. So fill that cup, friend! Do things that bring you joy, workout, take a bath, read a fun book, go on adventures, and drink more water. Make time for yourself a priority. Do things that your future self will thank your current self for and this will help deplete that overwhelmed, chicken-with-head-cut-off feeling.
Tip #4: THERE WILL BE TOXIC PEOPLE.
Avoid, I repeat, avoid them like the plague!!! There’s a chance that you will come in contact with people that will try to bring you down. People that get jealous, that want to see you fail, that will talk behind your back, and maybe even be rude to your face. LET THEM. Stay as far away from them as possible, because you do not need any negativity on this journey. Don’t enter in to their foolish games. Always show kindness and grace with them, because if they are choosing this behavior, there’s probably some deeper issue going on in their life. Just know that you are so much stronger, and love always wins in the end.
Tip #5: YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT (AND MAKE IT WELL!)
Like I said before, you were made for this. Take a deep breath, because you’re going to be amazing. When something is in your heart, you WILL soar. Take what you know and do the best you can. Use the resources you’ve been given. Ask lots of questions and do a little research. Never stop learning new things and finding ways to be better. Never let someone tell you how to do things. Think outside the box and dare to be different. In time, you will find your perfect teaching style. Your kids are going to love you!