First year NOT a nightmare

Discussion in 'General Education' started by cocobean, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I've always heard about how the first year of teaching is the hardest, the worst, a nightmare. I'm more than halfway through my first year and I can't say I feel the same. I love my principal and vp, I'm teaching my dream grade level, and my students have already shown tremendous growth. Of course there has been a learning curve, plenty of paperwork, induction program work, etc. but overall I'm quite happy.
    I almost feel guilty when my friends complain about the struggle of their first year, when I'm so content.

    Anyone else have a good first year? Was it a fluke?? Or does it really get better over time, even if you get off to a great start?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I think many teachers have a good first year. As with most things, the bad stuff seems to get more press.
    Have a great rest of the year!
     
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  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I had a fantastic first year! It was similar to yours - fantastic school, great colleagues, amazing kids, terrific parents. My principal left a little to be desired, but since I didn't have any issues he stayed out of my way and I didn't really go to him for anything. My VP was awesome and supportive. It was not a fluke, I love teaching. There is one year that stands out as super challenging, but I like to think THAT was a fluke.

    And it really does get better, even when your first year is amazing. Every year I learn more and become better at my craft. Teaching is absolutely the best!! Enjoy!
     
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  5. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Jan 21, 2017

    My first year has been an even mix of good and bad. There's definitely a lot that has me glad that any following year I teach won't have quite the same struggles (like figuring out a behavior management system or organization!) but at the same time it hasn't been a BAD year. Hard, yes. But not horrible by any means (let's face it, I haven't cried after dropping my kids off at specials since probably before thanksgiving break!) and my kids are definitely learning - though sometimes it feels like they're learning in spite of me because I don't always know how they're getting anything out of my lessons.

    Learning curve is probably a better way to describe the first year.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jan 21, 2017

    My first year was my easiest year! I also didn't seem to be going through what most first year teachers were. My college program was excellent; I'd spent a significant amount of time doing field experiences freshman-junior year and student taught for a full year senior year, so my first "real" year almost felt like my second year. My college made us fill out these ridiculously detailed lesson plans (3-5 pages for a single lesson) plus a reflection for every single lesson as well as a "journal entry" about how the overall day went in student teaching. I also had to do a thesis, several projects, and got formal observations from both my ST supervisor and mentor teacher every week. That year was significantly more work for me than I've ever done in a "real" teaching position, so my first year felt so easy in comparison, and all of that work really prepared me very well to be a teacher.

    I was also in a tiny, rural school with very few behavior problems, supportive admin, and a very small caseload (I'm a SPED teacher). The school I work in now is 10x harder (worth it because I love where I live now). I have often thought that had I started out in this school I may have completed freaked out and been one of those first year teachers that wants to quit in the first 6 weeks. Personally, I also feel that the job seems to get harder each year. It seems like each year student behavior gets more and more insane, there are so many new mandates, changes, etc. I feel like I learn more about what I should/could be doing each year as I improve as a teacher, which is great, but that means it gets more difficult each year! My first year I was kind of blissfully ignorant about a lot of things I should/could be doing and just thought I was doing a great job.
     
  7. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I'm in the middle of my first year but in the exact same position as you. It's been a dream come true.
     
  8. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I had a great first year. I'm only in my 5th year now, so I don't have a big trajectory to look at, but my experience so far has been that it ebbs and flows, much like other things in life. I wouldn't say that it keeps getting better every year for me personally. Every year has been different, with its own triumphs and challenges. My 3rd year was my favorite so far. I switched schools and grade levels and everything was just a perfect fit that year. This year is the hardest I've had so far, for a variety of reasons, but it's still not a bad year, really, especially compared to some of the horror stories I've read on teacher forums. I still love teaching, but it's naturally lost some of that first year freshness and excitement for me. I think I've gotten wiser and realized I'm running a marathon, not a sprint, so I try to balance my life better than I did back then.
     
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  9. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    Jan 23, 2017

    I had a fantastic first year. I look back and cringe at my own performance, but that's only come about through experience. I had good students so classroom management was rarely an issue. I also had a very supportive mentor and administration. To me, that last bit is the deciding factor between a good and bad first year. I was not "thrown to the wolves," but given a lot of good advice concerning best practices, what (and who) to watch out for, etc. I never had an issue that wouldn't be resolved by the AP quickly and justly. All of the horror stories we hear seem to all point back to bad administrators.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 23, 2017

    For me it's been:
    Pre-First: Bad/Survival
    First: Good/Survival
    Second: Good
    Third: Better
    Fourth: Best
    Fifth: Bad/Survival

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    It was a hard year, but not bad.
     
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  12. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jan 23, 2017

    My first year was busy and sometimes overwhelming - I didn't have the greatest work/life balance that year - and I sometimes felt like I was surviving one hour to the next but definitely not a nightmare.
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    My first year wasn't a nightmare either. I loved my admin, the grade and place I wanted to teach, even though it was super hard because of the student population I chose. It was hard and very challenging, but I loved it. There was so much to learn, and I learned the most during my year 1 and year 2.
    Every year gets better, I was just talking to my P (not the same I had during year 1,2 and 3) and we were talking about how immature and very challenging freshmen can be, and how much are especially special cases. I told her some specific students drove me crazy and I didn't know how to handle them, but knowing what I know now, I could. You learn a lot in a couple of years.

    I think 1st years are hard for most people because they're just learning how to handle the work load and managing their time to still have a life (very hard), classroom management is often an issue since there's so much to learn. (I think these are expected, and wouldn't make it a nightmare).
    Add to all these a bad admin, a different grade level / subject and especially rough kids, and most will consider quitting.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2017

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2017

    I think it depends on your perspective (i.e. in-the-moment it feels much different than when you look back), and whether it's being looked at as "nightmare" in terms of how you feel you're doing as a teacher, your work/life balance, a combination of the two, or something else entirely.

    For example, I absolutely loved the school I was at, the kids I had, the district I was in, and the community of parents. In terms of the state tests, I had 100% pass the ELA portion, and all but a couple for the math portion (ironically), even though it was the first year for that particular testing. Even many parents were raving, and I got proficient or distinguished across the board in observations.

    That being said, I never felt that confident, and at times, felt less than barely confident in myself. At the same time, in the moment, I also had less expectations in myself (i.e. I didn't know as much in terms of the new curricula, nor did I have a baseline that I was aiming to improve from), whereas this year, my third year, I hold much, much higher expectations, given that I thoroughly know the curriculum and am in my third time teaching it). "Good" / "Bad" is very hard to define :)

    All in all, don't feel like you have to have a bad year! Cherish the fact that it's going well, stay grounded - knowing that there'll likely be times you'll encounter tougher times but can work through it, and just keep focusing on how you can keep improving! Glad to hear it's going so well! :)
     
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  16. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jan 25, 2017

    duplicate
     

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