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One of my most cringe-worthy moments occurred in my first year of teaching. It was about six months into the school year and I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the increased work demands of report writing. Just as I hit the peak of feeling totally snowed-under, an email popped into my inbox. It was from the principal, advising of yet another mandatory meeting. In a really bad moment of procrastination, I hit reply and started writing. I had absolutely no intention of actually sending it, it was more of a therapeutic thing. Anyway, here’s what I
What I Wish You Knew About Me
- Know that when I send a student to you, it’s because I have already tried everything I can think of in that moment, and NOTHING HAS WORKED
- I don’t want to do playground supervision twice in one day (I need to eat too, you know!)
- This job requires a LOT of overtime
- I don’t care about the latest buzz words in education, just let me teach
- Another meeting, are you serious?! We had one yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.
- If you’re going to ask that the whole school teach the same topic at the same time, make sure you provide enough resources to do this. I don’t want to chase up Cheryl because she borrowed the book off Mary, who borrowed it off Jack, who took it from the library without checking it out first.
- Let me choose my professional development. Don’t just send me to things I’m not interested in learning about. Consider my skills and interests, and give me choices about the direction I want my career to take.
- Don’t fill my planning time with meetings. We have enough of those after school anyway. When am I supposed to plan if there are meetings during planning time, and after school? Do I plan during learning time?!
- Support me. Remember when that parent told you I never called them back, and you reprimanded me in front of my students for this? The truth is, I did call them back. I tried calling them in the morning before students arrived, during my recess/lunch breaks, and again after students had gone home. I did this every day for a week. But you never asked if I did, you just blindly listened to what the parents had said.
- Remember how we differentiate to cater to the individual learning needs of our students? Follow the teaching rule by allowing us to create our lesson plans in a way that suits our personal style. No more school-wide lesson plan template!
As a therapeutic tool, writing this email was immensely effective. After writing this, I felt like I’d totally cleared my head and moved back to writing those reports, with thoughts of this email totally forgotten.
Until I Received This Reply
Gulp. You guessed it; I’d actually hit send on that email. I was sooooo unbelievably embarrassed….
But then I read the reply. Here’s what it said:
What I Wsh You Knew About Me
Thanks for the email Jennifer, it was great to reminisce about my first year of teaching.
Golly did I laugh at that one! It’s so easy to feel isolated in this profession (especially when you’re just starting out), but we really aren’t. Every teacher before you has had the same (or very similar) complaints, and those who come after you will too.
What were your biggest challenges in your first year of teaching? Drop a comment below to let me know!