Epiphany of a "First Year" Teacher
Featured in "NSBEA Today," Spring 2016 Issue
I looked at a calendar today and I realized something terrifying, potent, and inspiring all at once: I have very nearly completed my first year as a Business/ Technology teacher. Next year I will no longer be a “first year” teacher, something that has defined me, smoothed my mistakes, and helped me to find resources. It is terrifying to think that I should know what I am doing by now, because I have a year under my belt, after all. Luckily, this graduation has been more than fear—it has been accompanied by a feeling of great relief and pride as well. The most potent part of this epiphany has been that I obviously survived, mostly intact, my first year as a teacher. A year that many valued mentors and reliable sources informed me would be “the most difficult,” “the defining year,” and/or “your trial year.” I have leapt that hurdle. I fell a few times on my way around the track; yes, but I ultimately I will cross that finish line. From my very first week of feeling so overwhelmed with standards, lesson plans, new people, new students, new names to learn, and setting up a new classroom, to now, I have changed. I have found a routine of work, when to plan, what to do each day during those cherished extra minutes. I have found allies in those once “new people,” finding that they, too, know the struggle of a difficult day and an even more difficult student. I now know every student’s name and most of their aspirations in the career world. My classroom is a workable reflection of me, my classes, and our shared interests. Where I was lost at the beginning of the year, and shy to try new things, I have found the support and courage I need to aspire to greatness for myself and my students. I have helped make change and develop new curriculum, guide FBLA kids towards becoming leaders and shakers in our community, and adjust lessons for that one difficult student’s benefit. I now know that I can, and knowing that I can is a very powerful thing for a “second-year” teacher.