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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dear First Year Teacher

Today's prompt for Big Time Literacy's blogging challenge is "Dear First Year Teacher." So read 'em and weep. Okay, don't weep.
I thought I'd be full of wisdom (?), but my mind is pretty blank this morning. So I'll give it a shot, but....

Dear First Year Teacher,
No one will care how cute your room is or how adorable your outfits are, they will not remember. What your colleagues will remember was this: were you humble or arrogant? were you friendly and open? were you trying to make things better for the school or just your own little classroom? Did you do everything in your power to help your students have a good year? Did your words match your actions? If you say you care about your kids but your actions don't match, we will see that. So themes and cute rooms are really cool, but what will be remembered is how you treat others and if you are humble.
Someone who has seen both sides of this

Dear First Year Teacher,
It doesn't matter what kind of amazing supports are in place, you will feel like you are under-supported. Because the first year of teaching is hard and more often than not you will be stabbing in the dark with ideas that you don't really know if they will work or not. We (myself and a whole host of others in the building) will do our best to support, friend and scaffold you. But sometimes it will not feel like enough.
a teacher who did not drown that first year, even when it felt like it

Dear First Year Teacher:
You cannot be an island. Reach out. Choose to be part of the team. Even though it's scary and you don't feel like you have the time or the energy to add one more thing to your plate, it will be worth it. Volunteer to help another teacher, speak up at staff meeting, ask questions, and choose to be part of social events. You are a valuable part of our team and we value you and want to support you. We don't really know how to do that any more than you know what you need, so reach out. Be a part. It will help fill that gap. The I-am-drowning-and-I-don't-have-enough-support gap. I think that every first year teacher feels it. I know that in retrospect I had AMAZING support, but I still felt like I was drowning.
your teammate

Dear First Year Teacher,
It is okay to cry. So love your kids. They will know it. They will respect it. And they will rise to whatever high standard you set for them. You might cry though. And that is okay. All the best teachers do at some point.
the teacher in the puddle of tears next door

Dear First Year Teacher,
I may not choose every idea you throw out, but don't stop sharing your ideas. You have the freshest perspective of anyone in the building. Your ideas are gold. I value your input. I hope the rest of our team is aware that we have as much to learn from you as you have to learn from us.
Your teammate

This is the short list. There is so much more! But the bottom line (in my opinion) is: love your kids, be open to others, and remember that it only feels like you are drowning, you will get through this. I hope I am a worthy support to the new teachers in our building. They are going to be a valuable addition to our TEAM and I look forward to rowing my boat to their island.


  1. Such good letters, and I love that last line about rowing your boat to their island! :-) Yep, totally fresh perspective!

    1. Well, you know how I love to write the letters! :) I'm really pumped about school this next year!