I have been teaching for 18 years. Most of that time was in a private school. Three years ago, I was fortunate to get a first grade public school teaching position. Yes, it took me that long. Teaching positions in Massachusetts are hard to come by and I suspect that is the case in many states.
The transition from private to the public school sector was HUGE! It many ways to try to compare teaching in both settings would be like trying to compare apples to dogs. It really is THAT different.
It many ways, 3 years ago I felt like I new teacher. I was referred to as a new teacher by my district and colleagues and I felt almost exactly like I did my first year out of college. Terrified, excited, elated, overwhelmed, anxious, happy, sad- my emotions ran the gamut that first year and often times they ran that gamut in one day.
I love this linky from Teaching with Crayons and Curls and My Mommy Reads. We all can learn from one another whether we are in our first, 18th, or 30th year teaching.
1. Collaborate- I learn more from my colleagues than I ever did in college. From bulletin board ideas to our new teacher evaluation system, having the support of colleagues is so important. Be accepting of their support and guidance.
2. Ask for help when needed- Let's face it folks, teaching is a tough job. Please, please don't feel bad about asking questions. This is not a sign of weaknesses or stupidity. If anything, asking questions or asking for help shows you care about your practice.
3. Be as organized as possible- I say "as possible" because inevitably, all kinds of new things will be "thrown" your way this school year. Find a system that works for you. Whether it's a 3 inch binder, a cabinet full of files, or a simple notebook to keep yourself on track. Try not to let too many piles build up on your desk or around your classroom. It will make it hard to find things when you need them and it will make the classroom feel unorganized. For me, when my classroom feels like I mess, I feel like a mess. Like this:
1. Gossip- Just don't. It's not nice and it's not professional.
2. Isolate yourself- Try to make time to spend time outside of school with your co-workers. They can be a great support system and when the job gets tough-they know how it feels. Don't go it alone. You don't need to.
1. Be good to yourself. Take one day at a time. - That teacher down the hall whose classroom looks like the window of Saks 5th Avenue, that 3rd grade teacher who has been nominated for "Teacher of the Year" or that kindergarten teacher who never seems to ever be stressed out. Don't compare yourself to them or anyone else. Just do you. If a lesson went horrible, the bulletin board didn't come out as cute as you thought, or that parent just seems to have it in for you- try really hard to let it go. You'll get there. Not all at once- but you'll get there. Try not to worry. Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't take you anywhere.
Just breathe and enjoy. Teaching is the very best job on earth. May you always feel this way! Be good to yourself and give yourself permission to rest and relax.
Have a great school year....because you can!
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers and their helpful hints too!