Don’t Be This First Year Teacher

I just wanted to share a quick story about what I saw this morning, and what happened to a great teammate of mine.

I have a co-worker who has been teaching science classes since the beginning of this school year. She was certified in other subjects but not in the class she was teaching. So my district hired her as a long term sub until she received her certification. She had failed twice, once in August and another in November. I told her not to wait, because she was leaving money on the table.

She told me; “I will focus on that later, I just want to help the students, grade papers, and teach the rest of this school year. I will take the exam over spring break”.

Well, yesterday I saw this woman with her in her classroom, and I just thought it was someone student teaching. But then this morning I saw the new lady teaching class and my friend was sitting in the background. So I asked my teacher neighbor about the situation, and she informed me that the new lady is certified and will take over the class for the rest of the school year.

I was like; “Are you kidding me?!?! This teammate of ours has been teaching this whole school year, and then we’re going to give her the shaft with only a couple of more months of the school year left?” She responded; “And do you know how they told her about this situation? They informed her through an email”. I was livid. How could we do this to someone who has put this school and her students above her own needs, and then just drop her at the sight of someone new?

I guess the moral of this story would be to take care of yourself. I wish I would have known this my very first year of teaching. Teaching itself is a very rewarding career, but the chances of a first year teacher being taken advantage of is extremely high. I tried to be nice and helpful my first year, hoping it would show that I’m a team player. All it got me was more impossible tasks being asked of me, and being lied to by those who hired me(they even withheld promised money from me).

This poor girl. I know as a school and district, we burned that bridge. I know she will look elsewhere once she is certified.

My advice for any new teachers out there would be to say “no”(politely) often, and to put your needs first, when it comes to your job. I had to learn the hard way my first year. Unfortunately, my teammate had to learn it the hard way as well.

If you’re looking for a new school. You are already qualified for the best/highest paying school district. Be reserved in the interviews when they talk about extra work loads. And then once you’re hired, use the word “no” more than you ever have before. Learn from other first year teacher mistakes, so you don’t have to go through the hardships that we went through. Have confidence in your abilities, and do not feel the need to get experience before you apply to your dream school.

I truly hope this helps you on your journey.

Best wishes,

E

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