A first year teacher PM'd me last night, asking about my comment that the second year is so much easier than the first. And I'm hoping (s)he won't mind, but I would like to post my first 2 responses for others as well. The problem I have is that I think both responses make it sound like the first year is impossibly hard, and I really don't believe it at all. Yes, there's a huge learning curve, but it's also tremendously rewarding. Other veterans, could you help me say what I really mean???? OK, response #1: "There's a huge learning curve the first year you teach, as well as the first year you're in a particular building. (So a first year teacher has the double whammy.) In terms of the first year in general, you have to learn how to present the material in such a way that the kids understand it. It has to be challenging, but not too challenging. You have to learn how and when to document. You have to make SURE you get the syllabus, with just enough time to review, but not too much, and taking into account (at least in NY) the possiblity of snow days. You have to break down that material into 38 minute chunks, except on assembly days (when it's 32 minutes) or mass days (Catholic school obviously) when it's 29. Oh, and let's not even talk about what happens when a fire drill occurs during your first test of the year-- I can almost promise it will. Scared yet? OK, then let's talk about your first year in a building. You have to figure out when the bell will ring and where your homeroom is and where the faculty bathrooms are and who to have lunch with. And what's due when to whom. And who to talk to when a bulb blows in your classroom and who to talk to when you suspect someone is in the boy's room causing mischief. And then there's classroom management. You have to figure out how to say "Get rid of the gum, please" so you don't feel like a drill sargeant, but so the kid replies with "OK, sorry" instead of something else. You have to strike that happy medium between a class the kids enjoy and one where they learn a lot. OK, now for the good part. You'll be just fine. Really. Everyone gets through it. Go into it with the right attitude, concentrate on the material, and ask for help when you need it. Remember to be a professional, and to treat every kid as you would want someone teaching your child or your kid brother. It's really not all that hard. By year 2, you're a fixture in the building. You know which assembly is interesting, how to make a demand so it sounds almost like a request, and how to give that "teacher look" that cuts off misbehavior without interrupting your lesson. It will all come, I promise."