During my first year as an educator, my biggest struggle was classroom management. While on paper and in admin’s eyes, as well as my own, my lesson plans were solid; my struggle with classroom management didn’t allow for the full implementation of my intended lesson. This is not to say that there weren’t any bright spots that first year, there definitely was. Students did like me for the most part as a person and when we had an in-depth discussion I was over the moon, but again classroom management was a struggle and is something I know many first-year teachers face.
Therefore when I entered my second year as a teacher, and after countless rehearsals with my (now) husband and much thought put into my classroom systems, I came in stronger. Admin noticed and the students learned so much better because of it. My ratings became better and I was overall happier and more confident as I saw my plans becoming better.
Now as I enter my third year I find myself really reflecting on my craft as a teacher. This year I have undergone some changes as I have recently obtained my master’s degree which would mean my full energy can go into teaching but now I’m being posed with newer obstacles. Admin is changing, I have a new co-teacher and the biggest thing now to consider, as I’ve always been pondering, is how can I truly leave my mark so that all of my students learn something meaningful? How can I continue to improve my craft as a teacher to meet everyone when I have students who are homeless? Hungry? Living with neglectful parents? Are clinically depressed/anxious/bipolar/ among a myriad of other things?
Teaching is not an easy job and one I could arguably say is one of the most challenging as often teachers go home thankless, underappreciated, underpaid, undervalued and overworked with the little time we do have. However, teaching is also incredibly rewarding. This is especially so when a student finally gets it, when students do eventually come to thank you (and sometimes it really is surprising who thinks to do so!) and those moments when you feel everyone is on the same page as you are in discussion, or even when those scores come back in that they have met the standard. Those joys keep me around when all else seems challenging.
So I guess the best way to think of how one can survive year 3 of teaching or year 10 or year 20 is to remember why you decided to teach in the first place and whether the joys of teaching outweigh its difficulties. I decided to teach with the hopes of reaching at least one student and exposing them to my own love of reading and writing in a rich and meaningful way. That’s all I can hope for as I continue my journey as an educator.