There were certainly low spots in that first year of teaching. As I reflect back on that first year it is hard for me to remember the good times because they are so overshadowed by the bad. It always seems to happen that way.
For this blog post, I want to reflect on that first year as a whole and talk about a few things I wish I would have done differently.
First of all, I wish that I would have kept a journal. For many reasons, but mostly so that I could look back at the year with fresh eyes and better remember what that year was to me. According to that chart that I shared last week, the spring should have been a rejuvenating time.
I am not exactly sure that it was, I hardly remember the second half of that first year. I remember that I did not stay after school until 6 pm every day (the way I did the first semester). I remember that I was staying pretty much one day ahead of my students in most of my classes. (I would learn something one day and then teach it the next day. This resulted in varying levels of success.) And I remember that I was really looking forward to summer.
I am not sure that I looked forward to something quite so eagerly in all my life. I just wanted out. I wanted a break. It had been the most trying 9 months of my life, and I am not too proud to admit it.
The second thing I wish I would have done is ask for or get more some help! I wish I would have gone back to my college buddies and asked them what I should have done in specific situations or purchased some online curriculum to use in my classroom.
TeachersPayTeachers.com is an excellent place to find curriculum. You can find full curriculum or just single lessons. There are also many art teachers who have created their own websites and sell their lessons that way. This website is such a website. I sell digital art lessons (both graphic design and digital photography). You can go to this link to find out more!
The last thing I wish I would have done differently is to just be more myself. I was so concerned with trying to be right all the time that I did not allow the students to see the real me. I was not honest with them when I didn’t know something (these days I am only too happy to say, “Hmmm, I don’t know the answer to that question, why don’t you go ask google!”).
That was a mistake because if students don’t know you, they can’t share in your life and you can’t invest in them nearly as well.
So those are my thoughts in reflecting on that first year:
- Keep a journal - so that you can remember how you felt and what you did.
- Ask for help - where you feel the need. You don’t have to do this on your own!
- Be yourself! - Students will trust you more and you will have more fun if you don’t pretend to be perfect!
Can anyone related to my words? Comment below!