Reflections on your first year

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Darkhorse, May 18, 2008.

  1. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    I am wondering how all the first year teachers feel now that we are at the end of the year.

    I have one week left (4 days!!!) and I am feeling very content and excited for next year. This is a sharp contrast to how I felt after the first week of school way back in Aug. I remember how overwhelmed I was and how I actually started searching the internet and job search sites trying to find other jobs I could do with my degree! I hated teaching then.

    My year has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. I had the three most difficult students in 2nd grade, I had all boys with only two girls, I had the highest student and the lowest student in 2nd grade, and I even had my principle apologize for the number of below level readers in my room. It has definitely been a learning experience, but I would not take it back for anything.

    I went through several different classroom management plans from bribery to assertive discipline to love and logic to just plain yelling. I have finally found a positive approach that highlights the good students. And, as a bit of a brag, I now have the best behaved class in my grade level and I haven't yelled in months.

    I have struggled with curriculum, felt like my students were all going to fail, watched my class consistently perform the lowest in my grade level, and cried over it all several times. But here at the end I think I have finally found my groove. My students scored the highest on our last math assessment and I have been praised for the increases in reading ability my students have shown this year. It's been hard, but I am proud of the improvement I have made.

    I'm looping to 3rd grade with half my class. There are usually only two teachers per grade level and I am the extra person. My 2nd grade teammates both told me they wish the other teacher was leaving instead of me. And the 3rd grade teachers are excited to have me. I was also told by another teacher that she requested her child be in my room if I end up staying in 2nd grade (which could happen). So I am really feeling the love.:wub:

    With that said I am still really nervous about next year and making sure I continue to do well. I am terrified I will have extremely difficult students again next year and I am not sure I can handle that again. There is so much I wanted to do this year that I didn't get to.

    So if you are still with me...What are your feelings at this point and how has your year been? I would love to have a spot to commiserate.
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 18, 2008

    That's fantastic. As a future teacher I love that kind of story. It brings hope to the horror stories of the first year.
     
  4. njtee

    njtee Rookie

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    May 18, 2008

    It sounds like you've made wonderful progress as a first year teacher! Congratulations!

    I have very mixed feelings about my first year, and they change by the hour! I teach language arts, and my students' test scores should be available sometime this week. (They tested back in March.) Bottom line: those scores will be used to rate my effectiveness as a teacher. While I worked very hard, I worry about my kids' scores being the lowest.

    That being said--I do feel more comfortable in the classroom in general, need to fine tune my classroom management skills and have a list of other items I will adjust.

    Just glad I made it this far!
     
  5. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    May 19, 2008

    Your post was inspiring to an almost-first-year teacher like myself. It was a relief to hear you were actually searching for jobs in September, because that gives a good indication of how BAD things were and how FAR you've come! Congratulations!:up:
     
  6. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    May 19, 2008

    Isn't it great that in our profession, we can 'start over' each year? I think that's one of my favorite parts of teaching-being able to reflect and improve. My first year was several years ago, so I can't remember much to share. But I do love reading these stories.
     
  7. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 20, 2008

    I have a ginormous list of things that I am changing for next year! I still do feel like I know what to do or how to do it, but I definitely learned things NOT to do/use!
     
  9. jwilliamson

    jwilliamson Companion

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    May 21, 2008

    My first year has been alot like your first year. I have WAY more boys than girls, most of which are extremely active. The span between my highest students and lowest students is rather large, especially in reading skills. Everyone agrees that I somehow ended up with the hardest class, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I figure, now that I made through this year (almost) - then the years to come should be that much easier!!
     
  10. ErikaG

    ErikaG Rookie

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    May 23, 2008

    This first year for me was amazing and overwhelming. I have a ton of things that I will do differently next year. I think that in your first year you learn a lot about yourself as a teacher. I know a lot more about my teaching strengths and weaknesses. I learned that there was a lot that college did not prepare me for. There is so much more to teaching than just teaching. The amount of work and being pulled in a million directions was very stressful at times.

    However, watching my kids mature and use the knowledge that I helped them to learn is amazing! The babies that I started with in August are not the kids that I have today. They are independent readers and writers nows. I have loved watching them grow academically and can't wait to do it again in August. ( Well, I can. God, I need a break! This is hard work. LOL)
     
  11. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    May 23, 2008

    I have 14 boys and 10 girls. It is amazing what running a lap can do- we run a lap between math and reading. It breaks up the morning and I even have the approval of my principal (shock! extra PE minutes).
    This year was successful beyond my wildest imagination... and next year will be even better!
     
  12. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    May 24, 2008

    I am four days away from finishing my first year of teaching Kindergarten and cannot believe that I survived. I had the most difficult class in terms of behavior and have been beat up by one student, threatened by a parent, and driven to exhaustion trying to deal with the behavior of another. I never thought that I would live to see the end.

    Even though I had such a difficult class, it taught me so much about how to deal with behaviors that I never expected to see in Kindergarten. Plus, I was able to see things that I need to change in my teaching methods and procedures to help make my class run smoother.

    I think the thing that I learned the most from being at my school is that our administration is not my friend when it comes to discipline. I had severe problems with one boy at the beginning of the year threatening and being physically aggressive toward myself and the students and I would send him to the office after I had gone through our list of procedures for dealing with these problems. I guess that my administrators immediately decided that I sent people to the office as a way to "pass the buck" on discipline and I did not receive the help I needed later in the year when another boy began hitting himself and me daily. It was only when he did this in front of my principal 3 weeks ago that they took me seriously. It frustrated me to no end that the people who were supposed to be mentoring me and helping me deal with problems in my classroom turned a blind eye to my ordeal.

    I am returning to the same school next year because I feel I have something to prove to myself and the administrators. I have lots of good ideas for next year and have gained so much experience this year. I had heard how hard the first year was but I do not think that people can truly understand it until they have experienced it first-hand.
     

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