Dear New Teaching Graduate,
Congratulations! You’ve made it this far. A world of possibility lies before you. This is such an exciting stage, but there are a few things you need to know.
It’s not easy
Teaching is not an easy job. I’m sure you’ve already realised this while on your teaching placements, but you’ll come to understand this even more throughout the next year. There are so many dimensions to being an educator and it will challenge you physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. Be prepared to persist through the times of struggle and you’ll thank yourself later.
You are starting from scratch
I’m sure you know some phenomenal teachers who may have even influenced your decision to enter into this career, and I’m sure you have an idea of the kind of amazing teacher you will become, but remember you are only at the beginning of your journey. You need to work hard to get to where you want to go. You will spend the first few years of your career building up resources, establishing professional relationships, getting your name known in schools and gaining experience. It’s tiresome and you may lose confidence at times but remember this is all part of the teaching experience.
You will make mistakes
I know you think you’ve got it all together, and you might most of the time, but you will make mistakes. You will forget to take the roll in the morning, you will have a conversation that does not go according to plan and you will feel out of your depth at times. Don’t worry though. Even the most experienced teachers still make mistakes. We’re only human after all. It’s how you bounce back from them that matters.
You’ve entered a highly competitive field
This is especially true for all the Aussies out there. Teaching is highly competitive. None of us think that we’ll be the one still looking for a contract in 2 years’ time but it happens. Don’t get disheartened. It will be easy to doubt yourself and to wonder if it’s worth all the effort. I often wondered that myself. Holding on to the hope that it will be worth it in the end is what you will need to get you through.
You NEED a support network
I know you’re a tough person. You’re independent. You’ve got this. But I cannot stress enough the importance of having a support network. If it weren’t for some of the key people in my life cheering me on, my journey would have been indescribably harder. Even connecting with other teachers online is a great help. Find people who you can be open with and who understand the teaching journey to walk with you in this. You may think you don’t need the extra support, but you do. We all do.
It takes time
Greatness does not happen overnight. It takes time. It will be a slow journey at the beginning, trying to establish yourself and trying to build connections with your students. You will begin to see your teaching-self develop and learn after a little while, but it may take longer than you think.
You will influence your students more than you will ever know
No matter what you’re feeling towards your profession at any given time, the bottom line is, you will always be influencing your students. Whether you have a wonderful day in the classroom or a day that makes you want to quit, you are influencing your students more than you will ever know. This is an enormous responsibility and a great honour. Remember this when your journey becomes difficult because it is the students that will make it all worthwhile.
You’ve got what it takes to be exceptional
You will have doubts, you will get weary, you will be challenged, but at the end of the day you have what it takes to be exceptional. Believe that. Remind yourself of it, and if you can’t say it with certainty then get someone in your support network to remind you. You can do this. You’ve made it this far! You’re getting better at it each day.
(Edited from original post written in October, 2016)
If you’d like to read more of my musings, then take a look at this post where I share my thoughts on that dreaded morning yard duty.
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