Dear First-Year Teacher,
I love you. I know that it’s soon, and I know that this might freak you out. But I can’t keep it inside anymore. I LOVE YOU! There. I said it.
I love that you have willingly entered a profession knowing that it is difficult.
You’ve heard horror stories of the long hours, the nonexistent weekends, the classroom management, the parent management, the education policies that continue to get more and more ludicrous, the tiny paychecks, and you showed up anyway. You’re here because teaching and kids and the future mean a lot to you.
I love the fresh ideas that you bring.
Whether you’re coming in with a degree in education or six weeks of training from an alternative certification program, you are bursting with cool ideas and new ways of doing things. Online funding for field trips, crazy new apps that look like they’re from the future, foldables for note-taking so elaborate they make paper cranes look like child’s play: I LOVE YOUR BRAIN! Some of your ideas will work and be absolutely genius; some might be on their way to genius and just need some tweaking; and some might crumble apart in your hands as you stand there weeping; but don’t you dare stop cranking them out. I need them! Your students need them! The world needs them!
I love your energy and enthusiasm.
Where does it come from, and how can I arrange to have it injected intravenously? There are times when you feel like your joy and spirit have been stomped on and intentionally set on fire by your students or other people around you, but just stop, drop, and roll onward, my friend. Your optimism and upbeat attitude are just some of the things I love best about you.
I know that it’s hard sometimes.
I’ve been there. The paralyzing, hopeless feeling that settles in on Sunday afternoons. The head-on-your-desk cries at the end of a school day (and sometimes, right in the middle of it). The words that feel like the only ones you use while speaking to family and friends anymore: “Sorry, I can’t make it to [special event or fun outing] because I have to [insert teaching commitment here].” But just know that it won’t always be this way. It’s not that it gets easier, necessarily, or that those things disappear, but right now you are getting stronger, faster, and more equipped to manage the parts that are difficult. So don’t give up. Keep fighting the good fight. There are too many people that love you and need you. (Like me.)
I’m sorry to tell you this in a letter instead of in person, but I’ve been by your house every night this week, and you haven’t been home. Are you working or something?
Your Very Public Admirer
Join our Facebook group WeAreTeachers—First Years! to connect with other new teachers and learn more about how you can navigate your classroom and life.
Love, Teach teaches English at a Title I middle school and writes about it at http://www.loveteachblog.com. In addition to teaching, she enjoys most large bodies of water, tetherball, and this YouTube video of baby fennec foxes taking a bubble bath.