My first year was one of the hardest years of my life, no joke. I was desperate and took the first school that would hire me. It was a very small school that was significantly under resourced. When a school is under resourced, most of it, if not all, always falls on the teachers. It was super hard experience for me, but was blessed enough to get through. It honestly felt like the Navy SEALs of teaching.
I was hired to teach one subject, do yearbook, and coach one sport. But boy howdy how that changed on my first day. I all the sudden became a coach of three sports, I had to teach four different subjects, I had to become the senior sponsor and raise over $2,000 by the end of the school year, I also had to raise over $5,000 to cover year book costs, I had to get my CDL to get my coaching stipends, I had to mow my own baseball field, I had to help all the teachers with technology, the list goes on. It was a dang nightmare! I asked myself after the first week, what the heck I gotten myself into. I was a dumb dumb.
But seven years looking back, these are the top three things I would highly advise, if you want a successful first year of teaching.
Politely Say No
I know this is hard to swallow, and you don’t want to ever do that. But truthfully, if you’re competent in your job, you will always be asked to do more, no matter what industry. Please, please don’t get taken advantage of, just say “no” in your own way. I promise it will keep you sane through the year.
I remember being so excited to be picked up by a school, and to finally have the career I’ve always wanted, even dreamed of. Then reality hit. Most of the students could care less about what I had to offer them, admin was more concerned about their own image than academics, and the athletic director put sports above anything else. But the biggest problem was, I was too nice. I wanted to be a team player and help wherever and whenever. But then once people found out I was good at one thing, then they started to throw all different types of tasks and objectives at me. And if I only could have said no to half them, my first year would have been a lot better.
So please learn from my pain, and if you’re starting to fill the least bit overwhelmed, just say no. Obviously you have to do your job, teach and educate the students, and whatever minor activities you have to do(car line pick up), but please do not over extend yourself or your kindness. I promise you, the school year alone will need all of your energy.
Find Your Work Buddy
The school I first started was super small, only 12 teachers for pre-k-12. But even out of the 12 teachers, I was able to find my work bestie. She was coaching as well, super nice, and really just a shoulder to lean on. She was going through the exact same thing I was, but having her along for the ride, made everything way more bearable.
We would hang out on some weekends and just vent, and get it all out there. It was nice knowing that someone felt the same way I did. We’d also share the latest thing that happened during the school day. We had the same goals in life. It was just an awesome friendship.
The point is, I am willing to bet there is someone on your new campus that you can just jive with. Find that person. When I went to my second school, I found an even better work friend, he ended up becoming my best friend. He would invite me over every weekend to hang out with his family. He would pass down his wisdom since it was his 17th year teaching. I gained a lot of helpful knowledge that would help me advance in my career. Love that guy.
Find your work buddy. Two heads are stronger than one.
Get 8 Hours Of Sleep
Put your health above anything, that’s how you last in this career. Eight hours of sleep should be a non negotiable for you, for real. Once you start to lose sleep, then you start to lose your strength, and then bad habits start getting picked up.
The least you can do for yourself, is give yourself at least eight hours of sleep. You will feel refreshed in the morning, you will be able to take on whatever you need to at work, and it might allow some extra energy to do the things you want, after work. So please give yourself those eight hours. Don’t sacrifice them cause you have to get grades done, or your friends want to party hard on a weeknight. Sunday through Thrusday night, mark it in your phone calendar that you should be in bed, 30-40 minutes before the full eight hours, to wake up in time for work.
A rested mind, is a highly capable mind.
I truly hope this helps you in your teaching career. Please feel free to comment on this post any questions you may have.
Sending you all the love, joy, and abundance vibes.