5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My First Year of Teaching

Today’s guest post comes from Frank Tompkins of Kirkland, Washington.

My first year of teaching went by in a blur. At the time, it didn’t feel like that. I remember how scared I was the first day. Could I really do this? As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, I started to get used to the position. But if I could go back in time and tell myself a few things before that first year of teaching, here’s what I would say:

1. The classroom isn’t yours.

It feels very much like your classroom. Your name’s on the doorway, even. In theory, the classroom belongs to the students, but that’s not really even true. It’s really the classroom that belongs to the state, the district, the school. Sure, you get to put your spin on it, but you need to make sure that everything you’re doing aligns with the overall mission of your school and district.

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

You can’t do everything. You have to find the most important things and do them.

3. Working long hours isn’t sustainable.

Sure, there are times when you’re going to have to carry your gradebook around and work all the time, but that’s not sustainable in the long term.

4. Students will always remember the way you made them feel.

Let’s face it, a lot of students are not going to remember algebra in 10 years. But they will remember the teacher that made them feel like anything was possible.

5. Help other teachers in your school.

You’re going to need your colleagues so help each other!

These are just a few things that are super important. I wish someone would have told me these things!