I have been teaching for 7+ years now here in Texas. It has been a long past 7 years(for real, for real).
The biggest mistake I made my first year of teaching was; saying yes to everything. I wanted to impress my principal, I wanted to show that I was a team player and that I cared for our students. Unfortunately, once I showed I was capable and competent juggling a few tasks. I was told to do more. Never once was I asked to do less, or I was already doing enough.
I should have said no. I am now at a much more resourced and high paying district, but teachers at my school are still constantly being asked to do more.
My solution: “I have already enough on my plate currently. I want to focus on truly helping my students this year and this task would not help me stay on that track.”
We are limited to only a few staff members this year and I think our administration is starting to realize we can only do so much before we get burnt out.
I also never volunteer for anything. As soon as you start volunteering, you will be asked to do more. I don’t mind helping out, but if it takes time and money away from my family, I have to say no.
Lately some schools expect you to work outside of your contract hours. I put a quick no to that one.
I also don’t have my work email on my phone. If its an emergency, call 911. I am not that important in off hours for contact. I only check my email at work. I am just a teacher, admin and above get paid for the extras.
What Keeps Me Going
My family and faith are whats truly matters to me. Providing for them is the main reason. Also, having time off with them when they are off is super important.
My professional relationships with my students really help in the day to day. Most of them respect me, I respect them and we get along most days. Some days I am tired, some days they are tired. But having a good standing with people I see and work with everyday is always good. Also being there for them is important to me, because some of them tell me what their home lives are like, and it’s not pretty.
I also feel like I am making somewhat of a difference in my students lives. I am not and will not be malicious towards them. In my past three districts that I have worked at, I have had at least one colleague get arrested for being malicious towards our student body in someway. Two went to jail for at least three months.
As long as I am providing a loving and safe environment for my students, I know that I am already being a great teacher.
I hope this helps.