Dear First Year Teacher: You Are Amazing

TeacherVision Advisory Board member and veteran teacher Olivia offers a positive and encouraging message for first-year teachers: You might not believe it right now, but you are amazing in so many ways.

Updated on: January 14, 2020

A student at a microscope with teacher assisting

Dear Teacher,

You are incredible. You may not know it yet, but you have made the decision to forever change the lives of thousands of tiny humans (or not so tiny, depending on which grade). This is not something to take lightly - if it was an easy job, schools would be full of passionate and motivated teachers. Regardless, you now have the responsibility to give your very best every day, and to give even more the next day. As you embark on this journey, you may find yourself second-guessing your choice, feeling overworked and undervalued, and in need of a major vacation. You are entitled to all of these emotions. While you feel these things, though, don’t forget to also feel and recognize the following:

There Is No One Like You

There are many different types of teachers - think about all of those that you have encountered throughout your educational career. No matter how much those teachers and experiences may have shaped you, you are now your own brand of amazing in the classroom. Take what you have learned, embody the likeness of those before you, and make it even better. You are here because you are meant to be, and you now have the chance to impact others in the same way that those who came before you made an impact on you.

You Are Enough

Whenever you start to doubt yourself or compare yourself to others, look inward. Trust your instincts. If you do this, you will always teach the best way you know how.

Feeling like you aren’t doing enough? That’s more common than you think. There will always be something you think you should improve or change, and that is what makes you so fantastic. Think about your favorite teacher - he or she felt the same things you are feeling now, but as a student, is that what you noticed? No. You are harder on yourself than any student will be. You are more than enough as you are.

You Are Changing Lives

Are you aware of just how much influence you have when you stand at the front of the room every day? You get to choose the type of experience you provide for your students. You get to choose how they remember school and the way it made them feel when they reflect on it 20 years from now.

In what other profession can you say you have the power to do something so enormous that you change the course and path of 25+ students every year for your entire career?

You can be someone’s safe space, their coach, cheerleader, form of structure, and even guardian angel. You will wear many hats, and you will excel in every one of them. To be so many things to so many people is power not to be taken lightly, but to be relished with pride and honor.

You Are Loved

It may not always show on your students’ faces or in their actions, but you are loved beyond measure. You will spend more time with these students each school year than most parents will with their own children. There will be times when you have to be hard on them, and it won’t be easy, especially when you feel that you have broken the bridge between you and them. There will be times where you have to build up your students, almost obsessively so, and your efforts won’t feel valued. There will be times where you will put a smile on your face when all you want to do is cry. You will face all of these moments, constantly, and each time they will make you second-guess yourself. The fact of the matter is, these students will love each of these versions of you - either in the moment, or much later down the road. Showing you care comes in many forms. Try to remember that it is the same for your students. So, no matter how hard your day has been, or how many difficult decisions you had to make, remember that you are loved.

You will feel many emotions as an educator, and you will continue to feel them no matter how many years you put in or how much experience you get. The most important thing to remember is that all of these emotions are what make you a phenomenal teacher. Continue to push yourself, and make yourself better, but don’t let the ups and downs deter you from the bigger picture: You are doing just fine. In fact, you are doing amazing. You are here because you are meant to be - you have power, you are loved, you are life-changing, you are one of a kind, and you can do this.

What advice would you give a first-year teacher? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

TeacherVision Advisory Board Member Olivia Bechtel is a first grade teacher in Westerville, Ohio who loves implementing engaging, innovative lessons to inspire her students. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and two dogs.

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