Monday, July 15, 2013

An Open Letter to New Teachers

Dear New Teacher Class of 2013-14,

   Welcome!  It is so nice to meet you.  Despite what some folks will tell you, you have chosen the best job ever.  Congratulations on your brilliance!  Unfortunately, you aren't prepared.  You can't really be prepared, despite the excellent teacher-prep program you completed, the GPA you fought for, and the semester (or more) of unpaid (but near full-time) teaching experience.  The good news is that no one is ever prepared, so you're not alone. 

Some things you should know:

  • Your first year is going to be hard.  Really hard.  So hard you're going to consider new prescription meds, different career paths, and/or moving to Siberia alone.
  • You're going to mess up.  You'll lose your stack of freshly copied tests, spill coffee on your students' papers, forget faculty meetings, and break fire code just as soon as the fire marshal walks in. Not that I've done any of those things.
  • Your classroom that looks so cute in August?  It's going to look like a war zone by September.  Kids are super messy-- no matter what age.
  • You should buy lots of extra pencils and paper, because kids are also thieves.  I would suggest buying in bulk.
  • You should start bladder training now.  You will have to go hours without a restroom, especially if you teach the little ones.
  • Your non-teacher friends will forget what you look like.  Be prepared to work 60 hour weeks.  Unfortunately, lesson plans don't make themselves, and there isn't a Grading Fairy.
But at the end of every day, you should know this:  the work you do is the most important work there is.  Your kids will constantly surprise you, inspire you, and make you laugh.  Your work will be hard, but it will also be fun and incredibly rewarding.  If you've been called to teach, all the bad will become minuscule in comparison to the beautiful.  

Have a crazy, difficult, busy, fantastic first year!

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