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Observations of a First Year Teacher

My first year of teaching full-time came to a close this week. While this did bring a sense of relief, break, much-needed rest, there was also plenty of nostalgia as I walked out of my classroom for the summer.

I thought about the first morning. I was so nervous and so ready at the same time. I knew this was where God wanted me, but I also felt I had no idea what I was doing. Within the first couple of weeks, I found my rhythm, and I started building rapport with the students. And then I realized that I was sad when Friday rolled around; I would look forward to Tuesday and spending time with the kids and teachers. They weren't just coworkers and students. They were my family. My students were incredibly gracious this year, patient as I learned how to do this teaching thing. Fellow teachers and faculty were 100% behind me, supporting and encouraging all along the way.

There are some things that I have observed this year, and I don't think they require much explanation. Or if they do, they're probably funnier without the context. :)

  • High schoolers are hilarious.

  • Grades don't motivate everyone.

  • Students want to know the why. Why is classical education different than other forms?And I was excited to give them the explanation. :)

  • Freshmen like to muse about your boyfriend. Whether he actually exists or not.

  • If you tell a group of rambunctious students, "Say shh if you can hear my voice," the result is them hushing themselves.

  • Teaching theatre to 7th and 8th grade is a crazy fun adventure.

  • You don't have to be perfect.

  • You won't be perfect.

  • Do the best with what you have and do better next year.

  • Relationship is more important than grades.

  • Finding a hobby keeps school from consuming your life and burning you out.

  • Exhaustion isn't always a bad thing.

  • Robin Hood was a Communist.

  • Being willing to admit mistakes and amend them goes a long way with high schoolers.

  • Not everyone will love your class, and that's all right.

  • You will cry over the villain song in a stage musical because you're so proud of how far your students have come.

  • Laughter is beautiful in the classroom.

  • Confrontation is hard, but sometimes necessary.

  • Students have the ability to encourage you as much as anyone else.

  • You will feel an overwhelming sense of pride in the success of your students that you have never felt before. Not because of anything you've done, but because of their hard work and dedication.

  • There is joy in the detours, the unplanned discussions and questions.

  • Spontaneous movement is helpful for focus.

  • It's okay not to have the answer.

  • It's okay to ask questions.

  • Lots of questions.

  • Even the ones that feel stupid.

  • And finally, God's grace is sufficient for me in ALL circumstances.

I hope you've enjoyed these musings of a first year teacher. What did you learn the first year in your career?


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