Dear Brand New Teacher,
Hello there, new teacher. I see you there with your fresh sharpies and brightly colored post-its. You are about to embark on a great adventure and you are wondering if you are prepared. Truth is you’ll never be quite prepared, but thank goodness for grace and on-the-job training.
There have been many things I’ve learned along the way that I would love to share with you. Perhaps it may save you some grief or growing pains. It may give you something to look forward to. No matter where you are, know you are doing hard and holy work. It is exhausting and it is rewarding. Never discount the work you do day in and day out.
- Believe in Yourself.
If I have learned anything in these 8 years of teaching, it is to be my own advocate. You have to believe in yourself as a teacher and as a person. You may have administration who keep you on a growth plan for 3 YEARS… it doesn’t define you. You may have parents bash you on social media… Nope, don’t find your worth in that. Not worth your time. Ultimately, know why you are here and what you are called to do. You are responsible for molding young minds. Focus on doing that to the best of your ability.
- Find Your Groove.
Teaching is SO overwhelming at first, especially if you teach every subject. You feel the pressure to get it all in. You want it to flow. You don’t want to read a script. You will get there. You will find your rhythm and it will become a part of your nature. Yes, it takes time and effort. You will probably stay up late making things to help your kids and reading about new strategies. All of these little things you do will become who you are as a teacher. You will sing songs as they write their name on their paper. You may count down or clap to focus their attention. Your procedures will fall into place and your class will thrive because of it.
- Love those Precious Souls you’ve been entrusted with.
Each year students will enter your classroom. You will never have a “perfect” class. Students carry baggage, sometimes more than we realize. They also ask for love in unusual ways. I always trust that the Lord put those kids in my class for a reason and I need to love them to the best of my ability. If a child is acting up, I discipline accordingly. I explain to them that one day they will be out in this big ol’ world and have a job. Their boss won’t let them act like that, and neither can I.
Enjoy each moment. You will hear hilarious things. You will be called mom. You will be smothered with hugs or high fives. Embrace it. These students look to you for guidance. Don’t take this lightly. It is a great privilege.
- Pray a lot.
Dear teacher, there will be situations out of your control. You will have no idea what to do. Pray for wisdom, sweet one. The Lord is gracious to us when we do not know what to do. When your heart breaks, pray that you can be Jesus to those kids. You will mess up. It’s a guarantee. He gives you grace when you’re at the end of your rope. He provides strength when you don’t think you can make it one more day. You will find so much joy when your students have those A-HA moments.
I believe in you, brand new teacher. I cannot wait to see how you will make a difference in this world.
[This was originally posted in May 2017 after I resigned from teaching. It still rings true today.]
As I wrap up my 8th year in teacher and say farewell to the classroom for a few years, I decided to write this letter of encouragement to those who are just now entering this blessed profession. You are doing hard and holy work. Never discount your worth.