2 Years (Almost) Down, Many to Go (Thursday, June 1)
I often hear that the first year of teaching is the hardest year. New policies, getting used to actually having your own classroom, and the students! I’ll agree that last year (my first day) was no picnic at the beginning. I was hired the day before school began and was told I’d have a couple of weeks to plan and get acclimated. Well, I ended up having my first official day just three days later! Cue the panic button!
Long story short, I survived with some bumps and bruises, but was able to take the summer, reflect and improve, and begin the new year fresh and renewed.
This is where I’d like to make the argument that the second year was definitely tougher than my first.
This year, being ambitious and having the first year behind me, I bit off a little more than I can chew. Drama Club, changing the curriculum a smidge, adding new games, incorporating Mystery Skype, being more present in the school community… what a whirlwind! I found myself doing average work in many place rather than exceptional work in a few.
Last year, I wasn’t as organized with writing down my daily lesson plans. This year, this changed dramatically (although I have been slacking a bit by the end of the year…). The last two years we’ve made additions to our curriculum with a heavier focus on the sustainable development goals set by the UN as well as a unit on the Holocaust to coincide with our school’s participation in Days of Remembrance. All-in-all trying to incorporate activities that worked well last year while incorporating new gamification techniques (Fangeopolitics, Mystery Skype, BreakoutEDU). I’m hoping for my third year that I’ll be able to utilize one of my lessons from either of those two years and just go with it (while also looking for tweaks here and there, of course!).
I feel that the second year of teaching is harder because you know all of the activities, routines, and procedures you should be doing. There’s no more excuse of “Oh! I didn’t know that…” The first year is about getting your feet on the ground while the second is almost about impressing. I think that’s why I bit off more than I could chew. I love dipping my toes into so many parts of my school community that at one point I was drowning.
I believe my first year of teaching was getting a feel of the school. What is the community like? What are the procedures? Traditions? The second year was all about me. I learned so much more about myself this year than I ever thought possible. I learned to take my professional learning into my own hands and not just wait for what my school offers. I’ve been exposed to the world of social media, gained the trust of fellow colleagues, and have learned when I just need to slow down. An end of the year survey at the end of my first year asked students what I could improve on. Students said I should be more strict. I’m not really sure if that happened, but next year, I think I’m laying the law down a little bit more. I’ve learned my breaking points and I’ve learned my pushing points.
I received a wonderful comment from my administrator the other day that I’ve taken to heart and has encouraged me to continue with how I’m doing things. She mentioned that she sometimes forgets that I’m only a second-year teacher. I’ll take it, and keep pushing myself to be better.
What years of teaching were tough for you? What advice/guidance would you give to newer educators?
(My featured image is my identity silhouette of what makes me who I am. It’s not completed because there is always room for improvement, reflection, and changes)