Everyone has heard of the first year teacher story. It’s supposed to be the hardest ten months of your entire teaching career and many even quit after their first year. It sounds like an inevitable experience for every beginning teacher. Hearing some of these horror stories has made me shudder and think of my own classroom mishaps as well as cringe at the thought of what is yet to come. At the same time, it has given me a bizarre determination to make my first year as scream-and-tear-my-hair-out-free as I can possibly make it. And since I have all the time in the world right now, I got to thinking… maybe I can dodge this bullet by getting a head start with my planning. All my planning. Not just units and lessons, but actually have a plan of what to do with all the potential obstacles that happen to a new teacher (and having taught four months of high school last year, I think I might have an edge!). For instance, I know now that activities that involve racing to the whiteboard work wonderfully for grade 2’s but not for grade 10’s (thank-goodness the bell rang before it got too violent).
I’m seriously wondering if this will work, because we all know how insanely steep that learning curve is for first year teachers. But is it possible to have a smooth first year if the planning is pretty much set and if I am sure of what to do in each pre-anticipated situation?
I think so.
I have some ideas of where to begin. I’ve found some wonderful teacher blogs – many of them first year teachers – and they’ve taught me so much already. Plus I have access to the programs of studies so at least I can train myself to know the curriculum inside out. And if I’m feeling extra ambitious, there’s always the pile of education textbooks that I could pore over. I’m thinking this project will be divided into three sections which will be elementary, junior high, and high school. In each section, my focus will be on three main areas: 1) Academics (unit, lesson planning, etc), 2) Classroom Management, and 3) Procedures and Routines. I will update every now and then on my findings and progress!
So it’s decided. This will be my project. It’s not going to be anything too intense although it sounds ridiculous to say that at this point. But let’s see if I can make my first year in the classroom as disaster free as possible! It’s going to be an incredibly tedious task, but in the end I think I would benefit a lot from researching, planning and learning from other people’s experiences. Even if my first year turns out to be a catastrophe – at least I would be a little more prepared than I was yesterday.