I wish someone had sent me this letter my first year of teaching, it would have saved me from a number of freak out moments.
My first year started out with a bang – With in the month, I had been sworn at, called a number of names, been yelled at by angry scary parents, got things thrown at me, broken up a fight and basically was emotionally torn apart, ready to quit. I was back at my alma mater with my very own classroom. In the days leading up to meeting students for the first time, all the other teachers were abuzz with huge to do lists to prepare their rooms. I had two things on my to-do list: get dry erase markers and set up my desks in rows. I was naive to just about everything I was getting into. I was an intern teacher with one semester of fumbling through teaching a small ELD class to kids who were quiet little mice under my belt. Intern-teacher, meaning I was about to start my credentialing courses in a month — no theory, no experience, clueless as to what it means to be a teacher, idealistic as all hell and daydreaming about how much fun it would be to teach science. I had never heard of “scaffolding”, “differentiating” or what a lesson plan looked like. I had no curriculum, no unit plans, nothing stolen from other teachers, no plan for classroom management.
What the hell was I thinking? I wasn’t — I didn’t know what I needed to think about. A letter like this would have clued me in a bit.
Some of the best advice/tips I got my first year of teaching was mostly about housekeeping: how to manage attendance, how to set up a system to distribute papers, etc. Some of the worst/most useless bits of advice were on classroom management. I couldn’t actually teach anything at all, behavior was such a mess. The advice I got was…”just show them who’s boss, you have to own the classroom”