How was your first year of teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jammy, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2020

    My credential will be posted soon and I have already been offered an early contract from the largest school district in my area. I'm feeling very anxious about it though. I feel as though I have forgotten everything I have ever learned and have no idea what I'll do when I'm in my own classroom. Doesn't help that the advice my old teachers told me was that you will cry a lot but you will learn a lot :coldsweat:
     
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  3. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Jun 19, 2020

    My 1st year I felt like an imposter, but I survived it without tears. My mom used to say, " Fake it til you make it!" I was in a really unique situation....Filthy rich private school....and parents adored my idealistic self.
    However, my 1st yr in public school was much harder. Your number 1 goal is to try to get a long and not get pulled into any spats that are ongoing. Then # 2 learn all you can. Remember to thank people ( even behind their backs) for helping you with anything. When people feel you appreciate their help, they will help you learn more and feel more vested in you. I didn't cry my 1st yr at public school, but I felt so angry at times. I think b/c I knew to observe and stifled myself too much. :) Good luck and try to have fun! :)
     
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  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 19, 2020

    It was a whirlwind. I took over a class for a teacher who left on medical leave. I was able to ease myself into teaching with 12 weeks of honors seniors at the end of their senior year.

    Year two was like a first year all over again. Four different classes between two schools. I didn’t have a classroom at either school. I was also going to grad school and doing an internship.

    Year three was like another first year because I was in a different job. Same thing for year four. After that, I stuck with basically the same grade level/content, so it was much better.

    Good, bad, and ugly . . . learn from all of it. Being flexible and teachable will help tremendously. I’m starting year 28 in August. In some ways it feels like another first year with our proposed hybrid model.
     
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  5. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Jun 21, 2020

    @Tired Teacher @Ima Teacher
    Thank you so much for your responses! I know I'll just have to suck it up and roll with the punches
     
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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jun 21, 2020

    My first year experience was not typical AT ALL. My first year was the easiest year I've ever had (I just finished year 10). First of all, the college I attended had us doing TONS of field experiences starting freshman year, and then we student taught for a whole year where we were 100% in charge for over half of the year. So I had significantly more teaching experience going in than most first years.

    Second of all, my college also required an insane amount of work. I had to do these crazy detailed lesson plans that were literally 5-7 pages, single spaced, for each lesson, which was at least 5 per day. And my supervisor/professors went over them with a fine tooth comb. In addition, I had to do a 1 page reflection for each and every lesson, every single day, and a daily 2 page journal entry reflecting on my day as a whole. On top of that, I had to make a portfolio with a bunch of work samples and explanations and a thesis project based on student data. I spent 20+ hours per week just on lesson plans before tackling any of the other work.

    Not having to do any of that made my first "real" year seem like a cakewalk. I also felt more relaxed because while my school did walkthroughs and of course observations, for my ST my supervisor came and did a formal eval 1x per week and my CT did an informal one 2x per week. Per state law my CT wasn't allowed to leave the room as I wasn't certified yet. It was very freeing not feeling like I was being watched/judged all of the time.

    My first year was also in a rural location with a lot of new immigrant students. Parents were supportive and the students were extremely well behaved. My P was pretty laid back and because the school was tiny, no one had a "team." Therefore I was on my own as far as what I wanted the job to look like and wasn't getting pressure from other teachers. And part of it was that just by nature of being a first year, I was pretty naive to all of the things I could have/should have been doing. My evals went well and I felt like I was doing a great job because frankly I didn't know any better. When I look back on that year knowing what I know now...wow did I make a lot of mistakes, but I didn't realize it at the time.

    As much as I loved the school I hated where I was living, and I moved to the city after my 2nd year. While I don't regret it because I love living here, the challenge level is night and day. I started at my current school my 4th year and have been pretty highly regarded there, but I've always been quick to say I would have struggled had my first year been at my current school.
     
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  7. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Jun 21, 2020

    I had a strong, supportive grade-level team of experienced educators so I was very lucky in that regard.

    I don't remember crying. One of the teachers gave me the helpful advice "they'll learn in spite of you."

    I was my own, harshest critic (still am). My evaluations were good but I always felt like I was failing the students somehow.

    Classroom management was the hardest. I had a very challenging group of students.

    At the end of the year I had to interview for my position. (The district had placed me there when they added a new class in September.) I was quite certain I wasn't going to get rehired but I was wrong and am still there 20 years later.

    Yes, there's a huge learning curve, perhaps complicated by the fact that there's no one right way to do it. You have to be flexible and reflective. Remember to give yourself grace.
     
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  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jun 21, 2020

    During my first year, my principal was Satan's meaner older sister. I couldn't resign quick enough at the end of the year. Fortunately the AP was a truly wonderful person who went out of her way to help me (and others) latch onto other districts in the area.
     
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  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jun 21, 2020

    My first year was at a brand new charter school. It was awful, but that was less because it was my first year and more because the admin were horrible. I did cry but never in front of the students. I think the first year will likely always be difficult. In addition to my horrible admin, there were other things that would have made the first year difficult no matter where I was, simply because it was new to me. You have to fight the urge to think that you should be as good as the experienced teacher down the hall. Ask for and accept help or advice when you need it, and be willing to put in hard work and sometimes long hours. Know that you will make mistakes, but try to learn and grow from them, and don't beat yourself up for them. Aim to build relationships with your colleagues, but resist the urge to get caught up in drama. Take care of yourself and your personal life too. You may not have a strong social life your first year teaching, but put something on your calendar each week that has nothing to do with school and stick to it (it's harder than it sounds). Don't forget your first year teaching (how could you?). One of the greatest feelings is looking back on your growth over the years, once you've been at it for awhile. You may feel regret for some of your former students for what you did or didn't do during their time with you, or you may feel naive for what you didn't know, but you will also feel accomplished for all that you've learned and challenges that you've overcome. If you are struggling to get through the first year for any of a number of reasons, remind yourself that you can do anything for a year, and then adjust your plan for the following year.
     
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  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 21, 2020

    My first year was very difficult. I finished student teaching in December, and got hired by the district to start in January (midyear.) I took over a 3rd grade class that had already had SIX teachers! I was teacher number seven! You better believe those kids did not believe that I was going to stay. The parents were irate at having yet another teacher, and they certainly didn't trust me. They had their guard up (and I totally understand why.)

    When I got there, they had a long line of subs, temporaries, and full-time that "didn't work out." They were so far behind, and the second I walked in the door, the principal started hounding me about how, if I wanted to keep my job, I'd better make sure they had high scores on the state tests (which was of course, ridiculous, since they'd had no consistent teaching to that point.) The first teacher they had was let go when her initial drug test came back positive (it used to take about 30 days for those to process.) The rest -- well honestly, the principal drove them away. He was overbearing, demanding and unreasonable. He insisted on 40 page long weekly lesson plans, and then had his "instructional specialist' go through them with a fine-tooth come, and made everyone redo and retype them, so there went more time each week. They were overly complicated and completely ridiculous.

    I started one week before report cards went out, and the previous teacher was ticked off at the principal and chose to walk away without leaving any grades! I still had to do report cards, write comments, and it was, quite simply, a night mare. The other teachers were so busy and overwhelmed that nobody bothered to get to know me or to befriend me.

    I sought out a very quiet, older teacher in my grade level, and went out of my way to make friends with her. She was a Godsend! Somehow, I survived that year.
     
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  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 21, 2020

    My first year, I was still living with my parents. I was 23 and my only responsibility was teaching full-time. I used to spend at least 6 days a week in my classroom setting things up, grading, lesson planning, etc. I wanted everything perfect at all times and was really hard on myself. Thankfully, though, I had a nice class. I had a super supportive principal and decent teammates (there were 7 of us who taught 1st grade because class sizes were lower back then... only 20:1). Looking back on things, I was very naive. I can’t believe how much time I spent in my room!
     
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  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Jun 21, 2020

    My first year had its ups-and-downs.....Fortunately, I had VERY supportive admin and online teacher forum.... :) You will learn a lot about yourself, your co-workers, your admin, and students. I highly suggest purchasing the book "Tools for Teaching" by Fred Jones. Rookies always have classroom management problems and this book helped me gather some insight on what I was doing and how I could correct it. Trust me.... You'll want to have this book read BEFORE starting THIS year.... Good luck to you!! We're all here to provide assistance, encouragement, and advice..... If you've got questions, concerns, comments, complaints.... stop on by and we're more than willing to offer help!
     
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  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 22, 2020

    My first year(s) was hard, very challenging. But challenge brings growth. I was teaching at a court / community school with lots of behavior problems, all at-risk youth, gang affiliation, more than half was on probation … took over after a teacher left due to medical issues, but there was almost a year of subs and long term subs,, so the kids already knew anyone who comes, will leave anyways.
    I started in April 2013. I'm still at that school.

    The reason was my success was the combination of an amazing principal who also became my mentor, and I knew she believed in me, so she helped and pushed me along the way. The other part of the combination was my determination. I left San Diego, where I had lived for 13 years, and moved 6 hours away, to a place that most consider undesirable. But I was determined and I had the "ride or die" attitude. This had to work out, I didn't change my life and move away just to be defeated and move back, no broke and still looking for a teaching job.

    I never regretted my decision and I still love my job. A lot has happened since then ad things have gotten easier, not only because I have learned so much but due to the restructuring of our schools. I'm still very happy and I really don't see myself ever leaving this job.
     
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  14. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2020

    @waterfall @sevenplus @gr3teacher @bella84 @RainStorm @YoungTeacherGuy @Pi-R-Squared @Linguist92021

    Thank you so much, everyone, for the overwhelming amount of feedback and support! I was stuck and too scared to sign the contract before, but this is the profession I chose so I know I have to start somewhere. I'm approaching my mid 20s, still living at home, no car and haven't worked in a school before besides briefly subbing before student teaching. During my undergrad and credential program I was always the least experienced person and it made me insecure about my teaching skills. I just fear messing up badly and ruining students' futures somehow. However, I am determined so I will take all of your kind words and support with me as I begin this journey :sparklingheart:
     
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  15. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2020

    I graduated during the previous recession. I didn't get a job my first year out of college and had to go back to my retail job. The next year I moved to a very rural part of my state in a county that was the polar opposite of where I grew up. It was a town where there was one high school and I was the only person in my school teaching the class I was teaching. Being out of the school environment for an entire year didn't help either.

    I have heard old school teachers say they were given a pack of chalk and told to go teach. That is basically what happened to me. (at least I was given a computer though instead of chalk!) To be honest the first year was rough, by Christmas I was starting to wonder how I was going to get through it. The worst mistake I made was that I started my master's when I didn't get a job so I was in the middle of it when I started teaching the first year (don't do this if you can avoid it). Luckily I got through it, was allowed to develop my own style, and came out the other side pretty good at my job. I saw other teachers at my school quit after one year though because they didn't feel support.

    I now work at one of the biggest counties, and nicest parts of that county. I see how my current school supports new teachers and I wonder how I would have developed in this environment instead.
     
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  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Jun 26, 2020

    Jammy, did you order "Tools for Teaching" by Fred Jones yet? Get it read before school starts.
     
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  17. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2020

    I like the quote that your old teacher said :"cry a lot but learn a lot." Yes. Thats completely correct. My first year was horrible. I was the fourth teacher in that class after 2 teachers and several long subs and student teachers left. They don't belelieve that I stay. Students know you are new so they always try to challenge you both academics and classroom management. I was lucky that I was very confident about the content I was going to teach. The only thing I was struggling with was classroom management. You will learn a lot in your first year teaching. Be minded that students always make up things that may make you cry badly somehow. You will stand between your students and their parents. As always, parents trust their children more than you. Example: You give your student a 0 for a missing assignment. The student tries to lie to parents that he/she did work and turned in and he/she will blame for you that you misplaced/ lost his/her assignment. Parents email you to confirm if it is correct but they will not believe in you though you already explain. They thought you are unorganized. Even Some rude parents will escalate this to higher level and try to get you in trouble with admin or principal. At this time, you are so stressful that you no longer concentrate on teaching. There are a lot more than that, so be prepared. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
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  18. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2020

    I bought the second edition for kindle and have started reading it a little I'm just currently still finishing processing with my district and will need to prepare to appply to schools soon but I will make sure to have it read as soon as possible.

    @Mr.history @tuankiet153
    thank you for your responses!
     

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