This is the first of 10 in a series of lessons retired teacher Tom Krause says every new teacher needs to learn to grow in the profession.
Welcome to teaching! You are now part of a profession solely dedicated to helping students of all ages learn. It is a profession where the more you give, the more you get in return. Most famous people are eventually forgotten, but teachers live on in the hearts and minds of their students.
First you need to learn the rules and operating procedures of your new building and district. Once you have that down, it is time to grow into your occupation.
This is the first of 10 lessons every new teacher should learn. Do not expect to learn them all at once, but as you gain experience, you will find these lessons valuable.
1. Be Yourself
As you begin your career, one of the hardest things is feeling comfortable as the teacher of your classroom. Many of your colleagues also felt the shock of one day being a student in a college classroom, to suddenly being in charge of a room full of students. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to be somebody you are not.
While it is beneficial to seek advice from veteran educators, be careful of losing who you are. Comparing yourself to others is very stressful. Find what methods work best for you. This will take time as you gradually adapt to your new surroundings. You will learn to discard what doesn’t work and keep what does. Don’t be afraid to change to a technique that is a better fit for you and your students. Each year, your anxiety will decrease, while your confidence increases. Using your gifts and talents you will grow into the teacher you were born to be. Don’t rush the process.
More and more you will begin to feel the rewards of being a teacher. It will become clear to you that you are truly learning to make a difference in the life of a child. That is the greatest reward any teacher can ask for from his or her profession. You don’t want to miss that feeling. Give yourself time to grow into that moment.
While the school district has provided you a classroom filled with children to teach, how that learning happens in your class is what makes you so important. You set the tone and atmosphere. That experience is what will make you the true expert in your classroom.
Tom Krause, a writer and motivational speaker, taught in the Missouri Public School System for 31 years before he retired. He can be reached at coachkrause.com.