A statistic that I have heard over and over is that 50% of teachers quit in their first three years, which I didn’t fully appreciate until I was in my first year of teaching. Teaching is a difficult job. Yes, we do get summers off, yes that is nice, yes that does make it easier, yes we hear it ALL the time… but it is still hard. It’s not necessarily difficult because of the work load, or requirements, or time commitment, although they do play a factor. What makes it such a challenge are the students.
Dealing with people can cause issues. You clash, you don’t see eye to eye, arguments happen. This has happened many times with students and me. When you are trying to manage 100 something different people in a day, you will face issues. Everyone has a different attitude, personality, learning style, and you never know what kind of mood they will be in when they walk through that door. What is even more difficult than juggling all of these people is that you know that some of them don’t have it so great outside of school.
I am fully aware that some of my kids don’t always have a regular bed to sleep in, don’t have a chance to eat between lunch and breakfast the next morning, and don’t have supportive parents. I understand why they don’t have the best attitude, and it makes it harder to try to refocus and refocus, and punish, and punish them, because they do have a hard life. I wonder what will happen to those students. The ones that argue with everyone, can’t get anything done, are so down on themselves because they aren’t in the best situation. I hope they can see the bright side of things and get out of the cycle that their parents got stuck in.
As a teacher you take these burdens home with you. You take it personally when someone snaps back or gets upset. You are just trying to do your job, teach them something, so hopefully they can do something with their life. Since my first year things have gotten easier. Maybe my skin has gotten thicker, maybe I care a little less, maybe I’m becoming a little more jaded, but you have to do what you need to in order to get by. I’m glad I stuck it out, I’m rounding towards the end of my third year, and I’m glad I didn’t become a statistic.
I made this visual journal page with magazines and sharpie. I happened to randomly get two of the same Urban Outfitters catalog one day, and decided since that probably won’t happen again I should take advantage of having double pictures. I loved this picture of the girl, it really captured how I felt. I was glad I had two of them, because I wanted to give the illusion of her falling. I added grass to the bottom to help ground her, but made it taper off to the right side to help it resemble a hill. I added the words with sharpie once I finished laying everything else out.
Are there any other teachers out there (or students) who felt this way their first few years of teaching? Any advice for first year, future, or new teachers?
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