Sunday, October 26, 2014

The New Teacher Survival Guide: Staying Positive

I'm excited to introduce a new series on the blog...The New Teacher Survival Guide!
This edition is focused around staying positive on the wonderful roller coaster that is teaching.
Before I begin, new teacher, I want to let you know that we have ALL been in your shoes. You have the makings of excellence in your bones, but this time of year is notoriously rough.
Everything will be O.K.!
Does this image look familiar to you?
Image Credit: Beach Teach
People, if this is correct, you are in the midst of DISILLUSIONMENT. Your shiny new classroom may feel like a prison. You may feel like you aren't making a difference. You may be asking yourself..."WHAT HAVE I DONE?"
The good news is you are not alone. The better news is as soon as winter break hits, your period of rejuvenation will be in full swing. You will survive. I repeat, hope is on the horizon.
I absolutely love my school, and despite the amazing support and encouragement I had during my first year, I was not immune to the "disillusionment" phase. It had absolutely nothing to do with my colleagues, students, or was all in my own mind...and trust me, the feeling was real.
In a less ideal situation, I can only imagine the feeling may be worse. I tell you my story not to brag about my school, but to show you that every new teacher feels this way, regardless of their circumstances!
Once winter break hit, I caught my breath. I focused on ME during the holiday season, just like you should focus on YOU. Until that time, though, here are some helpful hints to help you hang in there:
1. Do not (I repeat, DO NOT) take work home with you.
Stay longer after school or get there early, but leave work at work. That includes checking emails. Seriously - you will burn out faster than you can count to 3.
2. Keep a journal
In your journal, write about all the positive things that happened to you during the week. Keep the negative stories out. You'll find that the positives far outweigh the negatives - and it will help you recognize all the amazing moments that happen throughout the school day!
3. Find a friend
A teacher friend, that is. Find someone in your school or another school that you can talk to about school. Why? Only they will truly understand your feelings as a new teacher. If this teacher-friend is a bit older, they can offer you invaluable advice to help you survive that first year and beyond.
Until next time...Happy Teaching!

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