In honor of World Teachers’ Day, I thought I’d write a letter to those who are just starting their practice. Here’s to you!
Read the note from UNESCO on the official World Teacher’s Day concept “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession“.
Dear New Teacher,
Welcome! You are now a part of one of the hardest working professions in the world. You have joined a team of people who put others before themselves every step of the way. You are about to embark on a journey of high fives, shrugs, successes, failures, and everything in between.
This job is not for the faint of heart. Be warned, there will be times when you question why you ever started this journey. You want to make a difference and you know how important one person can be in the life of another. You want to connect, you want to be the change. And yet – there will also be frustrating phone calls to family members.
Read ‘How to Flip Parent-Teacher Conferences‘ by Meg Howe
There will be kids who need more support than you know how to give. There will be days when you say goodbye to your students and realize you haven’t gone to the bathroom, had a bite of food, or drank a sip of water since you said good morning. There are leaders who won’t get what you do and ask you to do things you don’t believe in. There will be burnout – oh man, will there ever be burnout. You will make mistakes.
It is important to know about those crummy parts of our work. It is also important to remember that the parts don’t make up the whole. There are the other parts – the fulfilling, uplifting, self-actualizing parts too. There are the days you will break through and a child in your class will finally feel success in the way you knew they could. You will laugh when they tell you the silly jokes they read from their popsicle stick.
Read ‘Amazing Things Kids Have Told Me‘ by Meg Howe
You will admire them for all they carry when they walk into school and how they somehow manage to keep showing up. There will be parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and more who will show you what it means to love a child without condition. You will see perseverance, courage, and faith in ways you couldn’t have ever imagined. When your student, whose house burned down and has PTSD, and who’s dad is stationed far away, stands in front of the whole school and proudly shares what he has learned – you will get it. THIS is why we chose – and continue to choose teaching.
Read ‘Top 10 Things to Get Done Before School Starts‘ by Meg Howe
My hope for you, new teacher, is that you continue to learn and grow and change. That you become like all of the things that get better with time – seasoned. You will know over time when to stand tall on your soapbox and know when to take a deep breath and let things go. Welcome new teachers, say thank you to veteran teachers. Leave before you become that teacher you never liked. Stay as long as you are the teacher you loved.
You got this! Now get out there and do what you were meant to do!
Meg and the rest of the Fresh Ideas for Teaching crew – we got your back!
#TEACHERS: Ever feel like you’re not doing enough?
— WeAreTeachers (@WeAreTeachers) September 25, 2019
Meg Howe is an elementary school teacher at a charter school in Boston, MA. She has been a teacher for 14 years spanning grades K – 5. Meg has spent time teaching in public, private, and charter schools in Bellingham, WA, Rome, Italy, Los Angeles, CA, Buffalo, NY, and Boston, MA. Meg also runs her own blog at AliceEverAfter.com that features her thoughts on children’s literature. She has a passion for picture books and middle grade books and hopes one day Kate DiCamillo can be her new best friend.