I am so proud of you!! You did it. By the time you read this, you would have completed your first day or even first week of school. Much has changed since I completed my pre-service training in 2000. You are considered the next generation of teachers; getting here must have been quite an exciting journey for you, but I know it wasn’t easy. Education students today find that it’s harder to become proficient; there’s more to study, more to learn, more to practice.
With that said, you are truly my hero. That’s right. My hero!! You may be thinking, “why?” A little voice in your head may be saying, you don’t even know me. Here’s what I do know-
You are my hero because you have willingly entered a profession knowing that there are challenges, some beyond your control. You’ve heard the dreaded teacher lounge stories of the lengthy hours, the imaginary weekends, the classroom management, the parent management, the education policies that continue to get more and more preposterous, the miniscule paychecks, and you signed up anyway! You’re here because you want to make a lasting impact on kids; you see the power of teaching and how it can shape the future and change lives forever! Yes, you are my superhero.
When the journey gets rough, and it will, don’t give up. Know that you have support and colleagues who too have traveled down that same bumpy road. When you feel like all is lost, find a colleague, preferably a veteran or mentor teacher, to whom you can express your frustrations. Just remember, every teacher has been a first-year teacher. Every teacher has gone through some of the same struggles or obstacles you are trying to overcome. As you go through this first year journey, I promise, you will find that validation for your feelings and support from other teachers will get you through those rough days.
Before long, you will be hashing out those wonderful fresh ideas that I admire about you. Don’t second-guess yourself. Trust yourself. Don’t discount what you bring to the classroom. You have probed, researched, trained diligently through student teaching, and independently endeavored through personal and professional development. You can do this!! You are overflowing with cool ideas and new ways of doing things. Some of your ideas will be masterpieces, while others might fall into a sink hole, but don’t let that discourage you from generating those awesome concepts. Our profession needs them! Your students need them! The universe needs them!
Remember, nothing about teaching or education is one-size fits all. Every child is unique. Every teacher is diverse. Every school is different. Teaching changes from one day to the next and authenticity matters to kids, so be your authentic self. Instead of a scripted worksheet, show your kids your passion; you will have a captivated audience.
So don’t let the journey ahead scare you. Don’t panic. Remember that feeling you had when you use to play pretend school? That’s still you. The only difference is now it’s one hundred times more gratifying and exhilarating when you live it in real life. You matter. We need you.
On behalf of all veteran teachers everywhere, we salute you! We are on this crazy expedition with you, the bumps and all. I hope you are excited to start your journey as a teacher. Just think: you may have the future president sitting in your classroom. You are now part of the greatest profession in the world. Congratulations! Here’s to a great school year! We believe in you!
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